Sunlight.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Sunlight.

walking in the sunlight.

Sunlight

Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.

Benjamin Franklin

“Stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight.”

Gordon B. Hinckley

“Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn’t people feel as free to delight in whatever sunlight remains to them?”

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

What is empathy?

By David Joel Miller.

Why is empathy in short supply?

Empathy is a vital ingredient in modern life.

What is? Series

Empathy.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Empathy is described variously as, understanding another’s feelings, the ability to identify with and understand somebody else’s feelings or difficulties or the abilities to put yourself in the others position. It can have to do with both cognitive understanding and emotional experience.

Empathy is considered a fundamental skill for beginning counselors to have or to develop. I looked this word up in my 1898 Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia only to find – it’s not there!

The word empathy was introduced into the English language in the year 1908.  It came from a German word which had come into use extensively in the 1870s.  There was clearly a need for a word that more accurately expressed this concept.  Originally the word empathy was closely related to sympathy but went beyond the concept of feeling sorry for someone.  Empathy came to mean a ‘felt sense” or an understanding at a deeper level.

Today this word is often used to denote the ability to understand and experience what someone else is feeling.  To really feel empathy and you needed to not only understand what the person may be thinking but what they may be feeling.

In order to develop your understanding of the skill of empathy take a look of the list below of ways to tell if someone is truly empathetic.

Empathy is seeing life through someone else’s eyes.

Empathy is not simply saying I know what you mean or I understand what you are going through.  It is that true desire to actually be able to put yourself in the other person’s position and see what they’re seeing in the way they are seeing it.

Empathy is being genuinely curious about others.

People who are high in empathy are genuinely curious about other people’s lives and what it would be like to live life the way that person lives.

Empathy wants to understand not judge.

To have empathy you have to suspend judgment.  The people who are high in empathy make the effort to understand the other person, their life situations, and what they have gone through.  The goal of empathy is to experience what it would be like to be that other person.

Empathy values the other person’s experience.

Having empathy places a high value on other people and their experiences.  People from other backgrounds can have important contributions to make to our understanding of the world we live in.  An empathetic person does not look for ways to make the other person more like themselves.  They look for ways in which that other persons thinking and behavior makes sense given their life experiences.

Empathy is a mirror that reflects what is inside us.

As you seek to practice empathy for others you are likely to discover that it says a lot about you.  Looking and listening to other people’s life experiences evokes emotions deep within ourselves.  Much of what we may be feeling about someone else reflects what we would be feeling in that situation.  Deep empathy moves beyond our own experience and attempts to experience things from the others point of view.

Empathy understands feelings as well as facts.

Empathy is about more than simply understand the facts and the situations of someone existence.  The highest form of empathy is to seek to understand how someone feels.  This goes beyond thief understand of facts of someone’s life, to how that person interprets those facts and the feelings those situations result in.

Have you developed your skills for experiencing empathy?

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Gift.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Gift.

cat as gift.

Gift Cat.

“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”

― Mother Teresa

“What greater gift than the love of a cat.”

― Charles Dickens

“Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops.”

― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Eight steps to clearer thinking.

By David Joel Miller.

Become a more efficient thinker.

PNG of brain.

Clear thinking.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

There are those people who are really clear, efficient thinkers.  Have you ever wished you were one of those efficient thinkers? There are ways that you can become a clearer more efficient thinker.  The skills needed to be an efficient thinker are not something people are born with.  Good thinking is a skill that you can develop. Start by getting your brain running at top efficiency.

Eat a healthy diet.

You brain consumes a significant portion of the calories you use each day.  By some estimates your brain uses 20 plus percent of the calories you burn each day.  To think well you need to fuel that brain.  Give your brain a healthy diet if you want to get good work out of it.  Not only do you need enough calories, but you need enough of all the basic nutrients.  Work on including healthy ingredients in your diet.

Get enough sleep.

Lack of sleep will make you a groggy, fuzzy headed thinker.  Begin your day the night before by getting to bed at a reasonable hour.  Efficient thinkers have well-rested brains.  You can’t think at peak efficiency with a tired out brain.  During sleep your brain is cleansed of all the waste products from the thinking work you do each day.

Do healthy exercise.

To be a clear thinker you need a healthy body.  Keeping your body healthy requires a good balance between exercise and rest.  Improve your thinking clarity by getting up from your desk and moving around.  Include some standing, walking and other exercise in your daily routine.

Store information in multiple ways.

The brain stores information that comes in through different channels in different locations.  If you want to be a clear thinker you need to be able to find information stored in your brain.  One way to do that is to store it in multiple locations.  Listen carefully to what you hear.  Take the time to really look at things.  Writing things down helps you to store the memory in another part of your brain.  Some people find it useful to sing or convert things they want to remember into rhymes.

Become more mindful.

Mindfulness is a useful way to train your brain.  Mindfulness practice can help you learn to be less distracted and more focused on the thing that you are trying to concentrate on.  Mindfulness teaches you the skill of ignoring extraneous thoughts and staying on task with a really important thought.

Read to improve your thinking ability.

Reading expands your ability to think clearly.  We think in words and the more you read the more words you become familiar with.  Read widely and increase the number of ideas you are familiar with.

Excite your brain.

Do mentally stimulating things.  Seek out novelty.  An enthusiastic brain produces better results.  The majority of all learning is emotional not intellectual.  If you are interested in a topic, if it excites your mind, this thought becomes easier to remember and make use of.

Match your speed to the project.

Some projects require slow methodical thinking.  Other tasks benefit from a more rapid, creative approach.  If you’re working on a very detailed problem in mathematics or engineering, you need to slow down your speed to avoid errors.  If you need more creative thoughts, keep the flow moving.  Some of the most creative ideas come from brainstorming where you come up with as many ideas as rapidly as possible without censoring them.

Hope these ideas will help you improve that clarity of your thinking.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Gratitude.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Gratitude.

grateful

Gratitude

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”

― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”

― Epicurus

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

How to become more positive.

By David Joel Miller.

Want a more positive life, try these happiness tips.

Happy man

Happiness tip – be positive.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Positive people are a lot happier and more productive than people who see everything in a negative light.  Pessimistic people like to say they’re just being realistic. It is possible to be very positive and still see life in a realistic manner.  Being positive also has the side benefit of making you more fun to be around.  Take a look at some of these positivity tips and see if applying them to your life would be beneficial.

1. Be kind to yourself to become more positive.

Cruelty makes the world an awful place.  Being cruel to yourself is a very unhelpful practice.  Begin your efforts to be more positive by being kind to yourself.  As you began to treat yourself better it will become easier and easier to treat others well.  Kindness is a close cousin to positivity.

2. Use positive affirmations to multiply your positivity.

The things you say to yourself, about you, have a habit of coming true.  Adopt the practice of using positive affirmations.  Each day tell yourself something positive about you.  Find positive sayings that will motivate you to do your best.  Make sure these positive affirmations are things you really believe are possible.  Positive affirmations can do a lot to motivate you.

3. Giving yourself credit for things well done builds a more positive outlook.

Make sure that you recognize the things that you do well.  Believing in yourself and accepting credit where credit is due are parts of becoming more positive.  Are you one of those people who find it hard to accept a compliment?  There’s nothing wrong with accepting praise and compliments when they are deserved.  Becoming willing to recognize when you’ve done something well is one of the steps along the path to a more positive life.

4. Develop a positive support system.

The more you hang out with people, the more you begin to adopt their habits and attitudes.  To be one of the positive people make sure that you hang out with other positive people.  Work on enlarging your support system.  Surround yourself with people who will support you in being more positive.

5. Take responsiblity for your life.

There may be many things in your life over which you have no control.  Two things you do have control of are your attitude and your actions.  No one but you can truly make you happy.  While they may set situations in motion, situations better to your liking, you will choose whether to be happy or to be disappointed with what they have done for you.  The happy positive life is a matter of personal responsibility.

6.  Please yourself first for a more positive life.

No matter how hard you try there are some people you will never be able to please.  Work on doing the things that will please you.  If you don’t please yourself no amount of doing and pleasing others will make you happy.  Being positive enlarges your happiness.

7. Get clear on your yes’s and no’s.

Do the thing you want to do. Say no to the things you don’t wish to do.  Get clear on which is which.  Positive people stay positive by eliminating that negative and those no’s from their life.  Spend your time on the things you really want to accomplish for a more positive life.

8. Focus on the lesson you learned not what you did wrong.

Don’t make the mistake of focusing all your attention on your errors.  Part of the process of learning is making mistakes.  It is OK to be less than perfect.  What you do need to do is make sure that you learn from the mistakes as you make them.  Positive people believe that mistakes are them learning another way that won’t work.

9. Plan, not ruminate, to be more productive.

Don’t spend a lot of time going and over and over things that happened in the past.  Avoid a lot of time worrying about things that might happen in the future.  Keep your focus on the present moment and on planning for what you are going to do.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Sharing.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Sharing.

Sharing food.

Sharing.

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”

― John Bunyan

“A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.”

― Jack London

“I care not for a man’s religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.”

― Abraham Lincoln

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com