Monday, March 28, 2016

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is a set of competencies that enhance your ability to be aware of, control and relate positively to others in your personal life or workplace. Among other skills, people with high emotional intelligence are adept at using empathy.

Empathy is the ability to understand, share and connect to another person’s feelings, EI and empathy are closely related. Tuning into “feelings” vs. “thoughts” is the key. Finding a way to acknowledge emotions creates a greater depth of understanding, connection and ability to relate to partners, friends, family or co-workers. Falling to recognize empathy can impair most relationships. 

If you are having trouble connecting to someone, getting irritated, increasing conflict or detachment, it may be time to fine tune your empathy and increase your Emotional Intelligence Quotient. The benefits have to do with gaining insight, forging deeper relationships and increasing trust. 

To get your empathy receptors fired up, ask yourself the following question;                   “What would it be like if I ………”

This is how you put yourself some one else’s shoes. This is a starting place for empathy. Using empathy will improve your emotional intelligence. How could this be a bad thing? Well, being over empathetic is not necessarily a good thing. It can be difficult to take on too much pain of another person and carry it with you. Taking on someone’s pain could easily fall into the category of sympathy, which is very different. Sympathy is feeling sorry for someone. Sympathy takes on a different meaning in relationships than empathy. In actuality, psychotherapists are trained to manage feelings, self-care and keep perspective on their own feelings around others' difficulties. Take this tip and be aware of how you are managing your feelings for yourself and others to keep your EIQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient) high.

Watch the video below to learn more about empathy, and how it is different from sympathy.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Happiness & Marriage Talk

Last year, Gayle I presented a talk to TLAP, the Texas Lawyers Assistance Program for the Texas Bar Association in Austin. The topic: Happiness and Marriage. Happiness is quite a challenge in life in general, let alone if you are a lawyer, Depression, substance abuse, the nature of law as an adversarial process can take its toll on marriages. Take a few minutes to view our discussion about how to have a happy marriage and perhaps learn how to enhance your relationship. 

To watch the talk, just click on the link below.

TLAP Texas Lawyers Assistance Program

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Neuroscience Behind Meditation

Who would have thought a common ingredient in most remedies today would involve doing nothing? Well... not exactly nothing... Just sitting and observing.

That is clearly becoming the case as meditation gains more credibility in the medical field. This is largely because there is now science to prove its efficacy. In many studies, research has consistently reported that mediation improves memory, decreases pain sensation, reduces stress, reduces anxiety, and mitigates the symptoms of mood disorders. Meditation is now tackling the heavy hitters in the mental health field. as doctors are even including meditation in their prescription for disorders such as Bipolar and Schizophrenia.

So how is science doing this? Neuroscientists are noticing mapping changes in the brain after regular meditation and mindfulness sessions. Brain scans and MRIs are showing very different activity levels in select parts of the brain such as the prefrontal cortex and amygdala. The researchers watch brain activity while the mind is 'wandering' and while the mind is meditation. Watch this video to see these changes.

The ability to shift attention to the present, and away from problems and negativity can literally strengthen the connection of neurons in the brain. The crazy part is that these results can flourish very quickly. Trials indicate that as little as 12 minutes of meditation for 2 months will actually show visible differences in brain activity. But look at a Buddhist monk's brain scan and realize that years of practice can pay even higher dividends.

With the support of the science field, meditation is sure to gain momentum as a part of many mental health interventions. Even if you don't have a diagnosis, think about how meditation can help you. Watch this video to learn more about the power of meditation.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Virtual Reality of Flying

The fear of flying is a persistent problem that I've encountered throughout my work. Common fears and worries I have heard over the years:

"My heart started pounding, my palms started sweating and I had the overwhelming feeling of being trapped."

"The toughest part of flying is the take-off. I’m acutely aware of leaving the ground, and there is nothing I can do to stop it. 

"I’m worried about turbulence; or worse, that we won’t clear the mountains.

Ultimately, there is a misfiring in the brain that tells you the danger is real. Is there a remedy? Is it possible to overcome these fears and phobias? The answer, a resounding YES. With some new technologies. In a safe, comfortable office environment, we can simulate all aspects of a flight utilizing with a Virtual Reality experience. You will be in a “virtual airport” on a plane, taking off, landing and managing your fears to retrain your brain. 

The goal is to help desensitize you to all of the triggers, realign your thinking to help you feel safe and confident to fly. If your brain can tell you that you are in danger, your brain can tell you that you are safe. Challenge yourself to confront these fears firsthand, rewire thought patterns, and build the skills that allow you to travel the world!

Why Worry? Recently, a reprint of the book  Why Worry  by friend and prolific author, Eric A. Kimmel was recently released. Gayle and ...