THE STRAIGHT UP
ISMY PUPPY THE CUTEST? Overcoming the Paradox of Choice
even when we domake a choice. As psychologist Barry Schwartz says, “It’s easy to imagine you would havemade a different choice that would have been better … this imagined alternative induces you to regret the decision youmade, and this regret subtracts from the satisfaction you get out of the decision youmade, even if it was a good decision.” Schwartz suggests the secret to happiness is low expectations, but I don’t think we need to believe the world is terrible to surprise ourselves into being happy.We don’t all have to live in identical houses and eat the same strawberry jamevery day, either. But experiencing regret is a choice we don’t have tomake. Rather than wonder “What if?” ask “What do I need?” “Maximisers” who spend time agonizing over every element of a choice tend to feel less confident about the decisions they'vemade. Meanwhile, “satisficers” make quick decisions based on basic criteria and are oftenmuch happier with their decisions in the long run. In the case of my puppy paradox, I can say being a satisficer worked out. Buster met my basic criteria of “maleAustralian labradoodle,” and he is scientifically the cutest puppy of themall. “IN THE WESTERN WORLD, WE FIRMLY BELIEVE MORE CHOICES ARE ALWAYS BETTER. HOWEVER, RESEARCH SHOWS A LOT OF CHOICES MAY BE WORSE AND MAKE US UNHAPPY AND LESS PRODUCTIVE."
yAustralian labradoodle, Buster, is objectively the best puppy ever. We bring himhome this month, and I’m so happy we will finally have him!When I went to the breeder back in the summer she had onemale puppy, and I was thrilled.We waited for months until he was fully trained before bringing him home. However, a funny thing happened a few months before Buster came home—another litter of puppies arrived. I remember scrolling down the breeder's Facebook page, looking at all the new puppies and fretting that maybemine wasn’t the cutest. My husband remindedme I was being ridiculous. What did it matter if Buster wasn’t the cutest? Shouldn’t I be happy that all the puppies were cute? Besides, we’d already picked our dog.We made our choice. “But,” I worried, “what if we chose wrong?” In theWestern world, we firmly believemore choices are always better. However, research shows a lot of choices may be worse and make us unhappy and less productive.This is called the “paradox of choice,” and it’s a topic psychologist Dr. Sheena Iyengar spent a lot of time researching.
different jams on display from six to 24.While more people stopped to browse the bigger display, only 3 percent bought a jar. Meanwhile, when there were just six jams, 30 percent of shoppers bought one! Before you think, “Who cares? It’s just jam,” knowDr. Iyengar ran a similar experiment with employers and 401(k) s. She surveyed over 800,000Americans from 650 employers and found themore funding options a plan offered, the fewer people chose to participate. This “choice overload” can lead some people to not make any choice at all andmiss out on an extra $5,000 a year from their employer because they can’t pick a plan.Or, inmy case, nearly not getting a puppy because you’re worried he won’t be the best dog after all. Regret is a big reason why toomany choices canmake us less happy,
Dr. Iyengar set up a display of jams at amarket and periodically switched the number of
– Dr. Leslie Pitner
Smile big. Smile often. • 803-781-5225
THE GIRL SCOUTS
SHOOT FOR THE STARS
With STEM Badges
how a young girl perceives her own ability. Girl Scouts CEO Sylvia Acevedo understands the power of earning a coveted badge. AGirl Scout herself since the age of 7, Acevedo grew up mesmerized by the stars and earned her science badge by building a rocket. “From that, I learned I could do science, during a time when not a lot of girls were studying engineering.” Acevedo attributes Girl Scouts to having the power to “change destinies.” Her first job as an engineer was as a rocket scientist in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Acevedo would go on to work for IBM, Apple, and Dell before creating and selling her own software startup.
1913, the group introduced the electrician and flyer badges, and beginning in the 1980s, Girl Scouts could earn computer- related badges. However, the introduction of these new badges, with a focus on encouraging an interest in STEM, speaks to the organization’s desire to bridge the gender gap in STEM fields. While women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce, only 24 percent of STEM positions are filled by women. A number of factors contribute to this imbalance, but the assumption that women cannot succeed in “smart” fields persists, even among young girls. Research from New York University found that, at the age of 5, girls and boys alike are inclined to associate traits like “brilliance” with their own gender. However, by the age of 6, there’s a shift, and girls become less likely to believe a girl can be “really, really smart.” Can a single Girl Scout badge turn the tide of gender imbalance in STEM fields? No, of course not. But a single badge can change
Since the first troop meeting in 1912, the Girl Scouts of the USA have strived to build the courage, confidence, and character of girls around the world. In July 2017, the Girl Scouts proved once again why they are one of the most respected leadership development organization for girls by introducing 23 new badges focused on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
It's not all cookies and homemaking, and these aren’t the first STEM badges Girl
Scouts have been able to earn. The Girl Scouts have a long history of encouraging young women to explore STEM- related fields. In
With more STEM badges to come and a rocket scientist leading the charge, the future of the Girl Scouts looks brilliant!
TOO YOUNG FOR BRACES? 7 Ways Early Evaluation Helps Kids at Age 7 3. Help end bad habits. When permanent teeth start to come in, thumb sucking or pacifier use can lead to future dental problems.Your orthodontist can help break these and other harmful habits, like thrusting the tongue into the front teeth when swallowing or breathing through themouth.
clearly. For example, having an open bite, when the front top and bottom teeth don’t touch, can impair speech. 6. Prevent or correct crowding. Beyond aesthetics, crowded teeth can be painful and difficult to clean properly, leading to a high risk for tooth decay and gumdisease. 7. Boost self-confidence by improving appearance. No child should be afraid to smile. Early evaluation can help give your child healthy, beautiful teeth they’re proud to show off. Early evaluation gives orthodontists the opportunity to use less invasivemethods and correct minor issues before they can become major problems. At PitnerOrthodontics, you don’t need a referral froma dentist to take advantage of the free evaluation!
Losing baby teeth is an exciting experience. For kids, it means a visit from the tooth fairy! For parents, it means it’s time to think about orthodontics.While few children will needmajor orthodontic treatment at this age, the AmericanAssociation ofOrthodontists recommends children be evaluated by an orthodontist at age 7. Here are seven ways early evaluation can benefit your child. 1. Guide permanent teeth into the correct position. At 7, the first molars and incisors begin to erupt.With regular evaluation, an orthodontist can help these permanent teeth grow correctly, hopefully avoiding additional, expensive treatment in the future. 2. Correct an underbite or crossbite. Underbites, when the lower teeth rest in front of the upper teeth, and crossbites, when the back top teeth rest inside the lower teeth, can only be corrected before your child’s mouth finishes developing at age 10.
4. Guide jaw development. Orthodontics can spot if your child’s jaw is misaligned and take steps to correct it while the upper jaw is still growing. 5. Improve speech patterns. The way your teeth come in affects your ability to speak
KEEP YOUR TRICK-OR-TREATERS SAFE THIS HALLOWEEN
Dress for Comfort The cold might not bother Elsa, but your trick- or-treater may not be ready to sing after the sun sets and the temperature drops. Have them wear jackets and gloves as needed and insist on shoes they can walk in. If your little princess is absolutely in love with her high heels, have her wear the pretty, uncomfortable shoes for pictures at the door, then switch into comfy sneakers before hitting the sidewalks. KeepYour Eyes on the Prize Masks can really bring a costume together, but they can also make it hard for young eyes to see where they’re going. Before trick-or-treaters head out to collect that sweet candy, swap out masks with face paint. It might take a few practice runs, but face paint can be just as cool. Make sure to test for allergic reactions first. Know the Rules of the Road It is important for trick-or-treaters of all ages to know how to behave safely as they walk down
You may wonder if trick-or-treating is safe, especially when stories of poisoned Halloween candy circulate every year. These terrifying tales have all been hoaxes, but beyond needlessly frightening parents, these urban legends take attention away from the real danger kids face while trick-or-treating. Safe KidsWorldwide reports that children are twice as likely to be struck by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year. Here’s what you need to remember before sending your little witches and knights out trick-or-treating. Light Up the Night Brightly colored costumes will help your child be more visible in the dark. That said, if your ghouls and goblins have their hearts set on being a real creature of the night, flashlights, glow-in-the- dark bracelets, and reflective tape attached to candy bags can help trick-or-treaters remain visible to drivers.
the sidewalks. They should always look both ways before crossing the street, never run
out between parked cars,
and make sure oncoming traffic is completely stopped before they step out into the road. Kids under the age of 12 should be accompanied by an adult, and older children should stick with their friends and never trick or treat alone. Trick-or-treating is a wonderful childhood tradition, and it shouldn’t end in tragedy. Talk to your kids about the risks and make sure they know why these rules are necessary.When you keep safety in mind, your trick-or-treaters can focus on the best part of Halloween: getting the most candy!
Sausage and Barley S O U P
It’s a great time of year to warm up with a cup of soup, and this comforting, guilt-free dish comes together in a flash.
stewed tomatoes, undrained and chopped • 1/4 cup uncooked quick-cooking barley • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh baby spinach
• Cooking spray • 6 ounces turkey breakfast sausage • 21/2 cups frozen bell pepper stir-fry • 2 cups water • 1 (141/2-ounce) can Italian-style
1. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sausage; cook 3 minutes or until browned. Remove from heat. 2. While sausage cooks, place stir-fry and 2 cups water in a blender; process until smooth. 3. Add stir-fry puree, tomatoes, and barley to sausage in pan. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat; cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in spinach; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts.
Smile big. Smile often. • 803-781-5225
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5953 Wescott Rd. Columbia, SC 29212 803-781-5225 Monday–Thursday 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. www.drpitner.com
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How to Know if You Have the Cutest Puppy
New Girl Scout STEM Badges Is My Child Too Young for Braces?
Keep Your Trick-or-Treaters Safe This Halloween
Sausage and Barley Soup
Local Events for a Frightfully Fun Time HALL OF HORRORS: HAUNTED ATTRACTION
Hall of Horrors: HauntedAttraction Where: 1153-BWalter Price St., Cayce, South Carolina When: Weekends, September 30 through October 31 Discover the origin of evil as SouthCarolina’s favorite Halloween scarefest returns. Are you brave enough to enter Brentwood Behavioral, amadhouse filled with the tormented experiments of Doctor Frederick Darling?Or, perhaps you’d rather spend a night beneath the stars and run from zombies in an infectedmaze. Chose your own horror story and get ready to scream this Halloween! All proceeds benefit local charities. Admission: $10 per guest Website: hallofhorrors.com
Boo at theZoo Where: Riverbanks Zoo andGarden, Columbia, SouthCarolina When: October 20–30, 6–9 p.m. Admission: $9 per person withmembership, $11 per person for general public Website: riverbanks.org/events/ Who says Halloween has to be all scary? The Riverbanks Zoo andGarden Halloween Spooktacular is fun for all ages!With a Haunted Carousel, Spooky Safari,Trick-or-TreatTrail, and more, the scariest thing about this fun event is how fast the tickets will go.Visit the Riverbanks Zoo andGarden website to get yours now! GalaWith a Bite: Dracula's MasqueradeAffair Where: University of SouthCarolina, Columbia, SouthCarolina
When: Friday,October 27, 9–11:30 p.m. Admission: See website for admission Website: icolumbiacityballet.com/event/gala- with-a-bite/ Are you ready to dine in Count Dracula’s castle? Find your favorite masquerade mask and join dreaded creatures of the night for an evening of live entertainment, heavy hors d’oeuvres, and a silent auction to benefit Columbia City Ballet. This event takes place right after the Friday showing of “Dracula: Ballet with a Bite,” but you don’t have to attend the ballet to dress up and join the party. It’s Halloween fun for grown-ups at this 21-plus event!
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