On this page you will find articles, free audio and video, and other resources that may give you tips on working toward healing and growth. Whether you struggle with stress, anxiety, depression, trauma, or addictive behaviors, no matter the struggles you come here with, this is a place for you to get some tips to support you.
Monday, June 1, 2015 · Leave a comment
Self-blame is a human dilemma. We may blame ourselves for shouting at our kids or not protecting our siblings from abusive parents when we were young, or hating ourselves for something we wish we hadn’t said. But blame creates a destructive amount of continual stress that holds us back from learning from our mistakes and also uncovering a real happiness.
So, assuming many of us agree that forgiving ourselves and learning from past mistakes is important for our health and well-being, the next question is how do we actually go about forgiving ourselves?
Know that you are not the first or the last
One of the first things to do is understand that you are not the first person who has made this mistake; it has likely been made thousands if not millions of times before you by other people. I am not condoning the action, but simply letting you know that you are not alone and that many people have made this mistake in the face of common human challenges. One of the common things we do as humans is taking things personally to a fault. When we come to understand that no one is immune from being unskillful, we can begin to take it a little less personally. This helps us in the process of forgiveness.
Understand that it’s in the past
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 · Leave a comment
At the root of it all we want to feel a sense of safety and security. We want to feel a sense of belonging and that we’re connected to something greater than ourselves.
In an upcoming online symposium on Uncovering Happiness that includes people like Dan Siegel, Rick Hanson, Sharon Salzberg, Tara Brach, Jack Kornfield, Dan Harris and others, you’ll see and hear Byron Katie talk about an essential truth saying, “If you have something valuable, you must give it away.”
This can be seen as a fairly extreme statement, but if we unpack it, what’s the potential net effect?
When we give things away, we’re reminding brain that we’re not alone and that we’re connected to others. And when we give things away to those in need, we recognize that we have the power to make a positive impact on other people’s lives.
We are not islands, we are not alone and there’s a sense of purpose. Feeling a sense of purpose is an essential ingredient to our well-being.
One of the simplest happiness tips around is to make giving a part of your daily life.
It doesn’t necessarily come naturally to give since life is routine and many of us are often self-focused, so that becomes the routine. So we need to set a daily intention.
Just in case you are stuck on ways to give, here are 10 ways to give:
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 · Leave a comment
Life is full of ups and downs and often times because our brains our wired to pay attention to the negative more, the losses are magnified, rehashed and fertile ground for self-criticism. Maybe you fall short on a test, don’t get the feedback you were expecting from a work project, end an intimate relationship, keep falling into bad habits or continue falling into bouts of stress, anxiety or depression. We see all of these as negatives in life.
But the key mindset that turns on this on it’s head and catalyzes growth and happiness is the learning mindset.
This is a single thread that weaves throughout Uncovering Happiness and also the newest release MBSR Every Day: Daily Practices from the Heart of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.
Every single experience in life contains information to help us get better and better with our intentions in life.
If you’ve followed my writings you know I’m a big fan of a short phrase to help us grow from the inevitable obstacles of life:
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 · 8 Comments
A little while ago I wrote a post around the importance of learning how to practice self-forgiveness. In that same vein it is essential to learn how to practice forgiveness no matter what. This may sound extreme, but let me explain. Forgiveness, as you may have heard or experienced, is simply the act of letting go of the burden that you carry from another person who has hurt you out of their own pain, ignorance or confusion. It’s a practice of freeing up your energy to focus on things that incline toward your own health and well-being or the health and well-being of others.
There’s a saying:
“Not forgiving is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to get hurt or die.”
The reality is holding onto resentment, literally keeps our cortisol running and makes us sick.
The wonderful thing about forgiveness is it really only takes one to tango. You only need one person to forgive – you! You don’t even need the offender.
Right now, if you have someone you’re holding a grudge against or are resenting, imagine the two of you tied together in a tug of war and imagine the cord being cut…you no longer have the tension of the rope, you are free!
Of course it’s not often this easy and it’s a practice to forgive, but what else is there to do? Hold onto the resentment so we continue to suffer? We’ve already been hurt, why continue to inflict further suffering on ourselves?
“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”—Paul Boese
If you are open to letting go of the resentment-habit and opening up to a better future, play with the following short forgiveness practice from The Now Effect: Continue Reading →
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 · 7 Comments
One of the greatest, most unproductive and destructive mind traps many of us face is self-blame. It’s as if the brain doesn’t know what to do with the uncomfortable feeling that’s there and it projects it inward. I’ve never seen a single example where self-blame is constructive. We all make mistakes in life, some greater than others. But there is a simple truth in life that is worth understanding, we all do the best we can with what we know in any given time.
It could never be any other way.
There’s a simple thing to practice that can bring us back to our senses with a bit more self-compassion. This inevitably will lead to greater ease, understanding and refocus us on a more constructive path of health and well-being sooner.
Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it.
No matter what you’ve done, it doesn’t serve you or anyone else to stew in self-blame. What would serve yourself and others more is moving into a place of understanding and making peace with yourself. From this space you are better able to more constructively serve yourself and others.
In Uncovering Happiness I share a very personal story where in my twenties I was incredibly destructive to my mind and body. I would be constantly caught in a web of blaming myself for the things I would do – only to do them again.