Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

This little guy should be in the Chicago area in about 4-6 weeks.  With any luck with the weather, he will stay here until mid-October.  Truly fascinating birds to watch fly up, down and every which way.  Or just hover in mid-air.


Tony Robbins: Here’s what brings more happiness than money

By Tom Huddleston Jr. & CNBC

Money alone isn’t enough to make you happy.

But helping other people can give you long-lasting joy and the feeling of true wealth, according to life coach and self-made millionaire Tony Robbins.

“Lots of people get a billion dollars and they’re not wealthy, because wealth is emotion, it’s psychology, it’s spirit, it’s soul,” Robbins tells CNBC Make It.

One of the “biggest mistakes” that people make, Robbins adds, is to obsess only over making money instead of on improving quality of life for themselves and the people they care about.

“You think, ‘I’ve got to make this money so my family will stay together or I’ve got to make this money so there’s enough food…” Robbins says. He adds that this way of thinking is often described as a “scarcity mentality,” where people believe that there isn’t enough money to go around, so they obsess over the goal of clinging to money and objects while ignoring other sources of happiness like personal growth and relationships.

“Really, quality of life comes by finding a way to add more value to other people’s lives,” Robbins tells CNBC Make It.

Robbins notes that there is research that explores “what stimulates and sustains well-being and happiness, and the thing that does the least is buying things.” In other words, obsessing over money and buying material objects might give you momentary pleasure, Robbins says, but that good feeling typically does not stick around for long after you’ve made a purchase.

“The [material things you buy] don’t last, you get used to them,” Robbins says. “What’s more valuable, if you want happiness, is clearly being able to have experiences. When you buy experiences, they linger. A trip, the experiences, the emotions, all that.”

An experience like a vacation might produce lasting memories that provide longer-lasting happiness, but that feeling still doesn’t compare to making other people happy, according to Robbins. “When you buy something for yourself the pleasure almost never lasts that long. If it’s something huge, it doesn’t even last that long…” he says. “Giving money away actually gives more joy than almost anything else on the planet.”

If you want to be happy, Robbins’ advice is to do something for another person today — you don’t even have to know the person. Just test it out, see if it’s true or if I’m full of it. Do something really unique, and don’t do it to get [something], do it because you just want to give.”

“There have been times when I’ve had nothing and I gave that money away, and the level of freedom it created in me … I can’t even describe to you verbally.”

The pleasure that you derive from helping others can be life-changing, Robbins says. “You’re going to find a giant shift, and that shift will change the way you do business, it will change the way you approach your family, it will change the way you feel about yourself and it’ll give you the experience of wealth,” he says.

6 signs you’re a better person than you think you are

By Zoë Miller & Insider

With popular shows like “The Good Place” and “Russian Doll,” the question of morality is having a moment in pop culture. As these series illustrate, being “good” is rarely black and white, which can make it complicated to gauge your own moral compass.

Here are some signs you’re a better person than you think.

You act with good intentions and compassion

According to psychologist and author Rick Hanson, PhD, one of the primary ways of identifying that you’re a good person is through your thoughts, words, and actions. And generally having inclinations toward goodness means you’re probably a better person than you think.

“These include positive intentions, putting the brakes on anger, restraining addictive impulses, extending compassion and helpfulness to others, grit and determination, lovingness, courage, generosity, patience, and a willingness to see and even name the truth whatever it is,” Hanson wrote on Psychology Today in 2013.

You believe you can learn from life’s challenges and improve

Carol Dweck, PhD, a psychology professor at Stanford University and author of “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” said that there are two categories of mindsets: the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. The latter allows people to embrace challenges and overcome setbacks when they are faced with personal and professional obstacles.

“Individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset,” Dweck wrote for the Harvard Business Review.

And having this mindset can be beneficial even in the toughest of situations. Dweck wrote in her book that a growth mindset “allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.”

You confront your own biases and own up to your mistakes

In her book “The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias,” Dolly Chugh, a psychologist and associate professor of management and organizations at New York University’s Stern School of Business, explained the term “good-ish.” In the context of bias, this phrase refers to the idea that it’s better to confront our mistakes (such as mispronouncing someone’s name) than to be “perfect.”

Living an error-free life is tough – that’s why some believe that the way you react and respond to your own mistakes and biases is a more suitable way to gauge who you are as a person.

“A good-ish person is someone who’s not free of bias but who owns the bias when it happens,” Chugh told Behavioral Scientist in 2018. “I actually think being a good-ish person is a higher standard than being a good person.”

You support others but you also make time to take care of yourself

“Helping others can give us meaningful roles that boost self-esteem, mood and purpose of life, which in turn can enhance mental and physical health,” wrote John Swartzberg, MD for Berkeley Wellness.

That being said, also taking time to take care of yourself doesn’t mean you’re any less of a good person.

“People think that being a good person you have to serve other people at the expense of your own needs, but if you do that you’ll end up feeling left out and resentful,” life coach Karen Meager of Monkey Puzzle Training said in an interview with The Telegraph. “You have to put yourself in the center of your life and then you’ll enjoy doing things for other people.”

You mostly meet your own definition of what a ‘good person’ is

Morality isn’t black and white and acknowledging that fact makes a world of difference in how we perceive ourselves. In an interview with Psychology Today, Dr. Paul DePompo, a psychologist and author based in southern California, explained that viewing all of your actions as “good” or “bad” can be a toxic mindset that might alter your self-image.

“Thinking you are one or the other triggers problems when you eventually do a ‘bad’ thing – which we are all capable of – and you may get an inflated self-image when you are doing many ‘good’ things,” DePompo said.

Instead, DePompo said he suggests you first define what you think a good person is in three to five words (ie: “generous” or “thoughtful”). Then, you should figure if you feel you identify with being any of the words you’ve chosen. He said if you see yourself as being more than half of the words you chose, chances are “you are a relatively good, yet imperfect person.”

When it comes to relationships in your life, you communicate effectively and take responsibility for your actions

Being able to create and sustain healthy relationships could be a sign you’re a better person than you think. Doing so typically entails communicating effectively, treating others with respect, and taking responsibility for your actions.

“You can be assertive without being aggressive, supportive without rescuing other people, and you can be vulnerable without expecting people to save you,” Karen Meager, a life coach, told The Telegraph. “It’s about being responsible for yourself and being able to be in an adult relationship with other people.”


Fight against robocalls continues as AT&T, Comcast complete test of verified call


The fight against robocalls can even bring telecom rivals together.

AT&T and Comcast said Wednesday that they can authenticate calls made between the two different phone providers’ networks, a potential industry first and the latest in the long-running battle against spam calls.

Using AT&T’s Phone digital home phone service and Comcast’s Xfinity Voice home phone service, the companies successfully tested the feature over regular consumer networks and not in a lab, the companies said.

The system, which uses a method developed in recent years, verifies that a legitimate call is being made instead of a one that has been spoofed by spammers, scammers or robocallers with a “digital signature.” The recipient network then confirms the signature on its side.

The companies said consumers will get a notification that a call is verified, but exactly what that will look like is not yet known.

Both AT&T and Comcast will roll out the system to home phone users later this year at no extra charge.

AT&T also said it will introduce the feature to its mobile users this year.

Other major wireless and traditional home voice providers have pledged support for the verification method, including Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, Charter, Cox and Vonage, with several announcing plans to roll out or test the feature in 2019.

T-Mobile began rolling out verified calls on its mobile network earlier this year, though it currently only does so for calls between T-Mobile customers. You also need to have a compatible phone, currently limited to recent LG or Samsung models.

The progress comes amid increased wariness from consumers about robocalls and spoofed numbers. A February report from the Federal Communications Commission cited data from First Orion, a provider of phone call and data transparency solutions, that projected that 44.6 percent of calls to mobile phones in 2019 will be scam calls.

Earlier this month John Oliver, host of the weekly show “Last Week Tonight” on AT&T-owned HBO, took a shot at the FCC over its poor handling of controlling this outbreak.

Over 5 million people have watched the segment on YouTube, with Oliver taking the fight directly to the commission by creating an automated call to all five FCC commissioners every 90 minutes to get the agency to act on the epidemic.

By Eli Blumenthal

8 mental health tips that are so effective, therapists themselves swear by them

By Korin Miller and Well + Good

meditationing girl


There are so many strategies for cultivating a solid sense of mental health (Rethinking your social-media relationship! Scheduling a girls’ night! Journaling!) Still, figuring out what tips really work and what’s just noise is a highly personalized and hardly simple process.

Since nobody knows what’s what when it comes to mental health quite like the people who preach it each day, we asked therapists to weigh in. Here, the experts share which tools they personally reach for on a regular basis in order to help keep their own mental-health game strong.

1. Rethink the way you approach worrying

“We all have anxiety and things we worry about, but worry is thought garbage,” says Thea Gallagher, PsyD, clinic director at the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perlman School of Medicine. “There is no correlation between worry and outcome,” she adds, and it’s important to remind yourself of that fact when you start to stress.

When Dr. Gallagher finds herself worrying about something, she tries to put herself on the following thought path: Can I solve this problem? And what can I do about it, if anything? “If I can’t do anything about it, I can’t worry about it,” she says. “There’s no point.”

2. Find a good mindfulness app, and stick with it

The app Stop, Breathe & Think is a go-to for Tamar Gur, MD, PhD, a women’s health expert and reproductive psychiatrist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “I use it almost daily,” she says. The app offers a few minutes of targeted, guided mediation based on emotions you’re feeling in that moment, and Dr. Gur fires it up when she gets to work, before tackling her long to-do list. “I use it to energize and ground myself,” and also sometimes to unwind before bed. She even encourages her kids to use it.

3. Take anxiety to the end

When anxiety creeps up on you (it can and it will), Dr. Gallagher recommends thinking about the worst that can happen in order to stay in control of it. When she was planning her outdoor wedding, for example, she knew bad weather was in the realm of possibility. “I took myself down the road of if it was bad, the wedding would be gross, and people might hate me and tell others I should have been more conscientious,” she says.

But she eventually realized that she’d still be married, and that was the whole point. “Sometimes taking yourself to the end of your fear or anxiety helps you realize that even if the worst thing happens, you’ll survive it,” she says. “It’s unlikely the worst will happen anyway.”

4. Make meditation an integral part of your day

Though meditation sounds like a fairly obvious means of boosting mental health, if you don’t plan for it in advance, squeezing in a session can prove tough. That’s why for David Klow, LMFT, author of You Are Not Crazy: Letters From Your Therapist, it’s simply routine.

“In the morning, I will take 30 minutes to do centering, grounding, and energy meditation practices,” he says. And before he leaves work for the night, he sits in his office for 15 minutes and “clears out” the stress from the day using meditation. “Doing this in the office, right after the sessions have ended, can be the most helpful while the work is still fresh,” he says. Finally, Klow does another 30-minute meditation before bed “to wrap up the day and get prepared for a restful night of sleep.”

5. Try not to read too much into things

When you, say, don’t hear back from a friend after you text them, it’s easy to let your mind spiral and assume something negative is the cause—like that your friend is mad at you. But next time this happens, don’t jump to conclusions. Think of other possible explanations. “Instead of a friend not responding to a text because they’re mad at me, I think that maybe they’re having a busy day,” Dr. Gallagher says. “Plus, if they are mad, they’ll need to tell me at some point.”

6. Take a big-picture approach to exercise

Regular exercise can boost both physical and mental health, but if you’re not able to dedicate as much time or intensity to your sweat sesh as you’d like, still try to be good to yourself. “You have to understand that you’re doing the best you can,” says psychologist Kathryn Moore, PhD. “I practice self-compassion and realize that I have to listen to my body. If I need to sleep a little later instead of going to a 6 a.m. workout class, that’s okay.”

It’s important to allow yourself some flexibility around your exercise routine so that you don’t feel shame or guilt if things don’t work out, Dr. Moore says.

7. Think twice about the types of content you consume

It’s easy to get wrapped up in a great book or show—and that can heavily influence your emotions. That’s why licensed clinical psychologist John Mayer, PhD, author of Family Fit: Find Your Balance in Life, has a “no sad entertainment” policy for himself. “I prefer not to see entertainment that portray real life drama, sad stories, and negative endings,” he says. “I deal with that every day. I don’t invite it into my personal space.” Of course, different genres affect everyone differently, but if you tend to feel bummed out after watching a sad movie or anxious after reading an intense book, it’s a thought worth considering.

8. Practice deep breathing when you’re annoyed

“I can’t say enough good things about deep, cleansing breaths,” Dr. Gur says, adding that a deep, purposeful inhale followed by a prolonged exhale is helpful when something really irritates her. “It helps me take a moment to at least approach the situation calmly and with more grace.”