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“The Courage To Change”

Guest Blog from Epsilon Healing Academy

Have you ever wanted to change something in your life and no matter how much you tell yourself and others that you want to change, you stay stuck?  Sometime it feels as though invisible forces work against us.  In a way, that is true.

The fact is –- change is hard.

To begin with, change involves taking action.  In other words, it means adding something else to your (very likely) already full plate.  One’s degree of discomfort with a situation or circumstance is weighed against the time and effort it takes to do something about it.  This often happens on a subconscious level.  For example, you might think you’d like to exercise more but you tell yourself you’re too busy and leave it that, thinking that you will get to it eventually.  But, you don’t stop to dig deeper into the reasons you don’t make your well-being a priority.

We are masters at holding onto old habits, old ways of thinking and doing things.  We convince ourselves that if we are not exactly happy, we’re at least okay.  After all, we’ve survived this long.  The longer we remain entrenched, the harder it is to let go. Read More

Los Angeles Therapist & Life Coach | David Vendig | 323-744-0751 | www.DavidVendig.com

“The Best Kept Secret to Happiness”

How compassion is the best kept secret to being happy, healthy, wealthy and wise
Published on November 5, 2012 by Emma M. Seppala, Ph.D. in Feeling It
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Marketing executives want us to believe that happiness lies in a product that will taste delicious, magically fill our bank accounts, or transform us into a supermodel that looks not a day past 20. Our social norms promise that happiness will lie in status, accomplishments, relationships, and possessions. We are always on the lookout for the next thing: once we have the perfect mate, we look for the perfect home; once we’ve found the perfect home, we look for a bigger one, or a new car or a bigger bank account; once the perfect job is attained, we look for the next promotion or look forward to retirement or a new job.  We seem to be on a constant and futile chase after the promised land of lasting happiness. Dan Gilbert of Harvard University has shown that we are, in fact, terrible at predicting what will lead to happiness. Our norms, for example, would suggest that a winning lottery ticket would make our happiness scores skyrocket while paralysis would make them plummet. Research shows, however, that winning the lottery ticket, though it creates an initial rise in well-being, does not lead to lasting happiness over time nor does becoming paraplegic lead to lasting unhappiness.

A closer look at our own experiences as well as research data suggests that the secret to lasting happiness does not lie in any goods, relationships or achievements, but rather in what we can give: not just material gifts, but gifts of time, gifts of love, gifts of ourselves. Compassion and service don’t just make us happy but they also have a host of other associated benefits and may even contribute to a longer life. Here’s how:

Compassion Makes You Happy

brain-imaging study headed by neuroscientist Jordan Grafman from the National Institute of Health showed that the “pleasures centers” in the brain, i.e. the parts of our brains that are active when we experience pleasure (like dessert, money, sex) are equally active when we observe someone giving money to charity as when we receive money ourselves! Giving to others even increases well-being above and beyond spending money on ourselves. In a revealing experiment published in Science by Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton, participants received a sum of money. Half of the participants were instructed to spend the money on themselves and the other half were told to spend the money on others. At the end of the study, participants that had spent money on others felt significantly happier than those that had spent money on themselves. This is true even for infants! A recent study by Elizabeth Dunn and colleagues at the University of British Columbia shows that, even in children as young as 2, giving treats to others increases their happiness more than receiving treats themselves.

Compassion Makes You Wise

One reason compassion makes us happy is by broadening our perspective beyond ourselves. We know from research on anxiety and depression that these tense and unhappy states are highly self-focused. During stress or sadness, we are usually focused on the things that are going wrong in our lives. Research shows that depression and anxiety are linked to a state of self-focus, a preoccupation with “me, myself, and I.” When you do something for someone else, however, that state of self-focus immediately dissolves. Now think of a time you were feeling blue and suddenly a close friend or relative called you for urgent help with a problem. All of a sudden your attention was on helping them. Rather than feeling blue, you began to feel energized and before you knew it, you may even have felt better and had gained some perspective on your own situation as well.

Compassion Makes You Attractive  Read More

Los Angeles Therapist & Life Coach | David Vendig | 323-744-0751 | www.DavidVendig.com

“10 Creative Block Breakers That Actually Work”

You CAN overcome the frustration of feeling blocked.

Published on September 14, 2012 by Susan K. Perry, Ph.D. in Creating in Flow

Doesn’t matter what you call it: writer’s block or creative block or simply “Where is my inspiration when I need it?!” All creative individuals find their work coming less easily at some times than others. That’s when you need strategies, and plenty of them.

There are at least 90 such tips, tools, and techniques in Breakthrough! 90 Proven Strategies to Overcome Creative Block & Spark Your Imagination, edited by Alex Cornell, with a foreword by Erik Spiekermann.

Breakthrough! is a fresh compilation of practical, real world solutions offered by a range of creative individuals, including graphic designers, artists, writers, and photographers. These are people who are employed in jobs where they are required to be creative, regularly (brief bios are in the back of the book).

The insights in this perkily designed, light-hearted, and useful little volume are sometimes amusing, often unexpected. It’s worthy of being read straight through and marked and stickied and personalized by any reader who has ever felt not lazy but gooey in the brain in regards to a particular project.

10 Favorite Block Breakers:

1. Redefine the problem to find it more compelling. Ask yourself something like “What if Winston Churchill was designing this packaging?” That will provide an unfamiliar angle and perhaps a new perspective. (Christian Helms, Graphic Designer)

2. Dirty your canvas. Place an ink-stained handprint on its blankness so you have something to fix. (Deru, Musician)

3. Draw blindly for half a minute. You can’t criticize the results. Give yourself a theme (this works for freewriting, too, and let loose. Without expectation, you can break through to being able to work on your blocked project. (Paul Madonna, Illustrator and Cartoonist)

4. “Look at creative block as growth.” Consider this: “I’m not running out of ideas, just trying to push myself into better ones.” (Mike McQuade, Graphic Designer and Illustrator)

5. Fill your head with your view of the problem, review your notes, then go do something else, something mindless and mundane. ( Daniel Dennett, Professor of Philosophy)

6. Look for patterns in your episodes of creative block. Take notes when it happens and you may notice a trend (maybe it happens mainly on Mondays). (Simon C. Page, Graphic Designer)

7. Choose a better way to conceive of your blocks. For instance, rather than having to root through a blocked drain to achieve flow, consider temperature. “I try to find out what’s hot and start there, even if it may be unrelated to what I need to be working on.” (Michael Erard, Writer and Journalist) [Also see this post about famous poet Philip Levine, who “fires,” rather than flows.]

8. Induce a feeling of panic by giving yourself a deadline and stating your committment to other people. (Ben Barry, Graphic Designer at Facebook) [If the very word “deadline” causes you psychic pain, consider making friends with the concept; see this post.

9. Come up with many solutions, not just one. Urged to list 20 possible next moves, your mind will stop fretting over finding the one perfect one. (Marc Johns, Illustrator)

10. Don’t browbeat yourself when you’re in the necessary in-between times when most creativity gets its start. A lot of thinking time is crucial, and it happens where you can’t see it. (Douglas Rushkoff, Writer)

Los Angeles Therapist & Life Coach | David Vendig | 323-744-0751 | www.DavidVendig.com

“What Do You Want?”

We don’t often know ourselves what we most deeply desire

Published on August 5, 2012 by Alex Lickerman, M.D. in Happiness in this World

“What do you want?”What question could be more basic—or more imperative—to answer? From publishing a bestselling book to getting married to taking our next breath, the narratives of our lives are driven ultimately by the desires we feel. But as simple as the question may be, identifying the answer is often anything but.

Research suggests that our conscious minds aren’t so much in charge of the decisions we make as they are great rationalizers of them. Which means they often collude with our unconscious minds to craft stories about why we do things and even why we feel things that are just blatantly untrue. We often have far more invested in seeing ourselves as virtuous, noble, fair-minded, and good than we do in recognizing the truth: that we often want things and therefore do things that make us base, selfish, self-righteous, and unjust. read more

Schedule your first appointment today with David Vendig.

Los Angeles Therapist & Life Coach | David Vendig | 323-744-0751