Make Happiness

Happiness cannot be given to you. You alone can build it.


Happiness is one of those sorely misunderstood concepts. I think of happiness as a pulsing, fleeting and often euphoric state. The foundation of happiness, however, is anything but. I believe that contentment is the genesis, the birth-mother of what we refer to as happiness. When we cultivate a sense of contentment and peace, then we have constructed an internal geography that supports these punctuated moments of emotional or mental bliss that we like to call happiness.

What this means is that happiness is not something that can be given to you. You alone have to build the foundation to support it. This includes engaging in good self-care (e.g., adequate sleep, nutrition, exercise, pleasure), cultivating good social relationships, planning pleasure and relaxation periods, being productive, contributing to society and being relatively free of self-destructive habits. We are all a work in progress, but...

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Get Connected

social & relationships May 08, 2017

We are designed for social connections. It’s a feature, not a bug.


I find it incredibly sad that the life experiences of so many people drive them into isolation and and an avoidance of social connections. It is understandable because their experiences have led them to the faulty conclusion that the words “good” and “people” simply cannot coexist. Once you have been repeatedly burned, starting with your family moving forward, it is hard to imagine that real connection, safety and acceptance even exists or that they are a worthwhile goal.

Nonetheless, the reality is that humans are by nature social creatures. Even if we have come to dislike other people due to fear or feel uneasy (or even panicky) in social settings, this can never negate the fact that we will still desire, need and crave genuine connection with others. Unfortunately, there is no substitute for healthy social connections. What this means, then, is that for...

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Focus on Future

Your past is not a place you can go, but your future is. 


Humans spend so much energy time-traveling that we barely have energy for the present moment. We are either so preoccupied with our past and all the regrets that we stir into a frenzied mess or we are overly focused on worrying about what lies ahead that we are paralyzed with fear…all over what is very likely to not happen at all.

But serious, the past is not a place you can go to. Okay, so go back to that moment you most regret and change it. Hurry up. Oh wait, you can’t, right? Then it no longer bears consideration except for what nugget you pull from it that will help you in the days ahead. Likewise, run on ahead into tomorrow and pre-arrange things to your liking, okay? Oh wait, you can’t, right? Well…

We get so busy time traveling to the past or to our imagined future that we completely forfeit the one moment we have to do anything at all…this present moment.

Your...

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Invest in Self

Genuine self-care has nothing to do with selfishness.


For too long, people have confused self-care with selfishness. What this produces is a generation of self-appointed martyrs who wear themselves to the bone trying to care for everyone around them when they cannot even care for themselves. For some, it is rooted in misguided notions propagated by religious beliefs that essentially teach that anything we attempt to do for ourselves is rooted selfishness and is therefore sin. So much shame is breed into children in this manner.

To be balanced, we must embrace the idea that we all have needs and that needs are not wrong or selfish. How we attempt to meet them can be selfish, but not the need itself. They are just needs. We all have the need to be loved, accepted, cared for, nurtured, respected, heard, promoted, celebrated, etc. By engaging in routine self-care and learning appropriate mental fitness skills, we can learn how to get our needs met in a healthy way and prevent...

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Gain Perspective

Uncategorized Feb 06, 2017

Good can come from anything…it all depends on how you view it.


Horrible things can certainly happen to good people. Children are abused, wives are beaten, men are assaulted by police officers, cancer strikes millions, natural disasters level communities…sadness, grief, violence and loss are all around us. There is nothing good about these events. Let me just be very clear about that. Yet, in every experience we can actually find hidden treasure.

For example, I read some research recently that shows that there are people diagnosed with HIV who would say it was a catalyst for good. It made them reassess their goals and their values and the life that they lead after being diagnosed is far better than the one before. Why? Because this negative event was a pressure point for them to make very positive life changes. It can easily be a pressure point for devastation as well but the choice is ours.

I can say that despite chronic childhood abuse, once I was able...

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We Believe in Skills, Not Disorders

Uncategorized Dec 13, 2016

The reality is that whatever we focus on gets amplified. Period. Thus, focusing on problems means that the problems will be amplified rather than the solution. This strikes us as letting the tail wag the dog. As an organization, we are highly invested in helping individuals develop a core set of mental fitness skills and we identify problems only as a means of defining unsuccessful past approaches. Our primary aim is to teach clients how to leverage newly learned skills for success and for achieving meaningful life goals.

As children, we are carefully taught basic skills such as how to read, write, tie our shoes, play an instrument or a sport. We are not expected to perform up to par in any of these without proper instruction. Yet, we are not specifically taught the crucial skills needed for relationships, socializing, self-care, emotional regulation, positive mental mindsets, meditation,...

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Takie Ownership

Owning who you are means you can become something else.


It is natural to want to blame others for our faults and mistakes. After all, who really enjoys being wrong? And this is never more true than for those unfortunate souls who were incessantly shamed as children. This builds in an almost allergic reaction to the mere thought of being found wanting and the soul withers at the prospect of  recriminations from others. Thus, while it is a totally reasonable place to journey through, it is certainly not a good location to set up camp.

Blaming others and rejecting responsibility for ourselves robs us of any opportunity to grow and change beyond our current limited internal landscape. It is like relegating yourself to the chicken coop when you could have had 10,000 acres on which to roam. Why would you do that? Why, indeed! It is primarily because of fear: fear of being wrong, fear of being rejected, fear of being ridiculed, fear of failing, etc.

The...

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Live Skillfully

Define yourself by what you can do, not what you can’t.


 If we only focus on what we can’t do, what we don’t have, and what we haven’t yet accomplished…we will be sad indeed and stuck in the mire of our own negative convictions. Whatever you focus on gets amplified, so if you focus only on the negative then this is what your brain will search out and bring to you over and over again. It becomes a vicious cycle and a never-ending trap.

The truth is that we can do many things, we already have great abundance at our fingertips (not talking about money!) and we’ve already accomplished a great deal just to still be breathing! Your perspective is everything. That I can eat today and open my eyes in the morning…that I can call at least one person a good friend…that I can see the beautiful mountains around me and smell the rain…that I have a wealth of natural wisdom and knowledge to gladly give to others…the bounty...

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