What Makes a Good Life

 

In his TED Talk, Waldinger pointed out three key lessons about happiness:

1. Close relationships.

2. Quality (not quanity) of relationships.

3. Stable, supportive marriages.

All of this suggests that strong relationships are critical to our health.

Society places a lot of emphasis on wealth and “leaning in” to our work, Waldinger said. “But over and over, over these 75 years, our study has shown that the people who fared the best were the people who leaned in to relationships, with family, with friends, with community.”

Expressing Empathy

When my kids were young I just wanted them to be happy. When they were crying, agitated or sad, I immediately attempted to fix whatever was troubling them. I scrambled to change their focus and turn their attention to something positive. I would reassure them that everything will be better soon and it will all turn out okay. In fact even now as a parent of adult children, I still struggle with wanting to fix their problem.

There is nothing wrong with the desire to bring relief to someone who is suffering. It’s a natural response. However, insisting that a person come out of their immediate experience and into the one you believe they ‘should’ be having can be more damaging than helpful. Remember, “fixing” has a lot to do with what remains uncomfortable within YOU. You can’t keep your child or anyone else from being upset. Continue reading “Expressing Empathy”

Metaphors in Life

A young girl came into my office for a session. She complained about having anxiety. During our initial session, she explained that she read an article about a man who was sleepwalking and killed someone. This ignited so much fear and anxiety in her that it affected her ability to function and disrupted her days.

From my years of experience working with people, I knew the story of the violent sleepwalker was a metaphor for something from her past she needed to work on.

This metaphor gave me a starting point from which I could explore her mental landscape. I sensed that she may have previously experienced a “death of self”, so to speak. Through our conversations, I gathered her history bit by bit and was able to identify moments in her life when she felt violated. A part of her “self” was hurt, lost, abandoned, taken away. Continue reading “Metaphors in Life”

Expand Your Comfort Zone Today

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Looking back, all the valuable skills I ever learned required a phase of discomfort. The first time you try something new you have no idea what you are doing and that would make anyone uncomfortable.

I remember the first day I did door to door sales. While walking up to the first house that I was going to knock on, I felt like I was going to throw up or die; whichever came first.

But, here I am today. After knocking on countless doors and talking to thousands of people I can do it without breaking a sweat. It’s made me a more outgoing person and has expanded my comfort zone so that I am comfortable in more social situations than ever before.

That’s the way your comfort zone works. You want to stay in it as much as possible, but the only way you can possibly grow as a…

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Mistaking Forward

Oftentimes, making mistakes sets us back or discourages us. Embarrassment, shame, or diminished self-confidence sets in. In order to defend our self, we begin making excuses, rationalizing our conflicting behavior or become self-justifying.

Mistaking forward allows us to become aware of our mistaken behaviors, realize what we are intending to accomplish, and to then, direct our thoughts and manage our feelings productively. In order to reach our intended outcome, it has everything to do with choosing each moment where we focus our attention and how we move from our intention into purposeful action.

Continue reading “Mistaking Forward”