Blog

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.


Compassion: Power Food for the Brain

Did you know that compassion, the act of recognizing someone else’s suffering with the inclination to want to support them, creates important activity shifts in the brain that are associated with
resiliency and well-being?

I recently attended a talk at a fundraiser where the presenter, Amy McLaren, had conveyed her story of going to Kenya with her husband and making a deal with a child there that if he shares his report card with them at the end of the month, they would pay for a month of his schooling.

They didn’t expect him to follow through, but after they returned back to Canada, a month later they received a letter with a picture of this boy holding up his report card.

He followed through and so did they.

Every month he would send his report card and every month they would pay for another month of school. Years later this boy is now in business school and has developed a business creating bracelets of “Hope,” employing a group of other people. Amy and her husband have now founded World Teachers Aid, an organization dedicated to improving education in underdeveloped countries.

In writing Uncovering Happiness many people have been asking me what I mean by happiness. The kind of happiness I’m referring to is Continue Reading →


The Power of Using Your Mind to Change Your Brain (Bonus Extended)

Today is the long awaited day (for me anyway) that Uncovering Happiness is out!

There’s likely no one more excited than me. It’s been a long road, filled with exciting new discoveries that not only can we use our minds to change our brains, but we can actually activate certain areas of the brain that create anti-depressant activity.

Inevitably when we intentionally practice and repeat doing this, we begin to turn this activity into new neural structures.

Here’s a short video with an overview of the what’s possible:

Continue Reading →


Baby Steps to an Anti-Depressant Brain

Let’s keep this simple.

You may or may not have heard by now that our brain is wired to pay attention more frequently, and with great veracity, to what’s negative. This doesn’t mean that the good moments in life aren’t happening, we’re just not wired to pay attention to them.

Why?

Because as a human race, we’re wired to survive, not be happy.

BUT,

I have a theory that in this moment in time we’re going through an evolution as a species where because of the overabundance of things pulling our attention, we’re being thrusted into growing our awareness – the kind of awareness that breeds balance, well-being and a greater sense of what matters.

So people are being turned onto mindfulness more. More spaces are offering it, more institutions are studying it and there’s greater media to get the word out about it.

Mindfulness provides us with awareness and the opportunity to take wise actions to further balance this negativity bias.

This is an evolution of an enduring happiness, you on board?

Continue Reading →


Uncovering Happiness: The Natural Anti-Depressant Effects of Mindfulness and Self-Compassion

Depression is the brain’s ultimate avoidance strategy.

For over 350 million people worldwide, it saps the ability to engage life and creates resistance around doing things that matter. Whether you want to work on a new project, get out and exercise, or sit and meditate – whatever it is that is in the direction of growth – the resistance of depression comes alive.

In Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion, I explore some of the neuroscience behind what keeps a person stuck in a depressive loop and how to get unstuck. In the process, we discover a host of natural anti-depressants.

Not only can we create an anti-depressant brain, but we can also lay the tracks for a more enduring happiness.

Understanding how depression impacts the brain gives us clues about our natural anti-depressants. For example, studies have shown that a depressed brain has significantly more activity in the right prefrontal cortex than the left prefrontal cortex (PFC).

  1. The right side is associated with avoidance, negative emotions and stuckness.
  2. The left side is associated with approaching, positive emotions and resiliency.

Relapse prevention is about resiliency so . . .
Continue Reading →


3 Steps to Making Change Stick

Whether we like it or not, this time of year cues our minds to reflect and think about habits we want to change. If you’re reading this blog, odds are one of those habits are bringing mindfulness into your life more and allowing this to be the year where it sticks. Or maybe you’re also looking to change other habits that run alongside your values like being more self-compassion, living alongside your values, playing more or creating more mastery in life. All of these are basic elements that help uncover happiness.

Whatever the habit is that you want to make, here are a few practical tips to help make your changes stick.

  1. Know the practice – If you’re trying to integrate the ability to become more present in your daily life, choose what you want to practice. You may want to integrate more formal practice that would come in the form of a sitting meditation or mindful yoga. Or maybe you want to integrate more informal moments of just being present to whatever you are doing. Or maybe both. Or perhaps it’s exercise, better sleep, or being a more present friend. Having an awareness of what you want to do is the first step.
  2. Set up reminders – As much as we’d like to think, “I got it all up here, I can remember,” it’s important to Continue Reading →