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.”
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”→
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”→
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…
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.
As we approach the final pages of the calendar year and temperatures begin to drop, we enter the Holiday Season. When we begin to anticipate the Holidays, life can become more stressful. Stop for a moment and think about this time of the year. What thoughts run through your head?
If we plan properly, holiday stress need not overwhelm us. There are a variety of ways to help us handle this annual stress. The most important thing is to realize and accept that stress is normal. During the Holidays, stress takes on a different character than at other times of the year.
As the Buddhist teachings say, “to live you must experience suffering.” Throughout life, it’s natural to endure sickness, injury, tiredness, and old age. However, when we look at our emotional suffering, such as loneliness, doubt, frustration, fear, embarrassment, anger, jealousy, disappointment, etc., these feelings are more difficult to accept. When we feel upset we often get impatient and want to rid ourselves of these unpleasant feelings.
Many personal troubles involve being preoccupied with wanting something different.
Life is filled with countless emotions and experiences. When things are going well, we tend to glide easily through life. However, when suffering arrives, we struggle with it. Our difficulties usually bring us to a redefining moment. They challenge the way we look at ourself and our life. Our unfulfilled plans, mistakes, doubts and disappointments are all part of sorting through our life. All our experiences are valuable in some way.
Each day, we have the opportunity to welcome whatever emerges. Life is a full range of emotion. They arise when we arrive at a place in our life that fills us with joy, happiness or laughter. Or, we could reach a crossroad in our life that is filled with sadness, tears, and discontent. Sometimes, our pain gives us reason to wonder whether we will ever be OK again. A wounded heart can be just as alarming and unwelcome as a broken arm or an illness. However, just like physical pain is a call to action, our emotional pain needs to be welcomed and given attention. Give your hurt feelings, your physical healing and your unmet needs the kind of support that allows you to more easily shift your approach in how you look at your circumstance.