some funny to cheer you up

aj: mommy, i have a smarty tooth.

mom: you do! wait, what? a smarty tooth?

aj: yeah, a smarty tooth.

mom: well, what is this smarty tooth? where is it?

aj: it’s in the back of my mouth.

mom: oh! you mean a wisdom tooth!

aj: no. a smarty tooth. and daddy has one, too. you have a mommy tooth.

camp counselor: hey, aj! it’s field trip day!  you got your backpack?

aj: yes

counselor: you got your t-shirt?

aj: yes

counselor: you got your lunch?

aj: yes

counselor: you got your master’s in chemical engineering?

aj: yes

dad: hehehehe! I’d rather he get a master’s in electrical engineering!

counselor: nah, chemical engineering is better!

Olympia LePoint, rocket scientist

The Triabrain And Answers Unleashed


Olympia LePoint Rocket Scientist, TED Speaker & Author

 Have you ever thought about someone and they emailed seconds later? Can thoughts heal your body? Is the brain able to predict new technology? When I first wrote my HuffPost Lucy movie review, people around the globe commented about what I shared regarding the human brain’s power. But that article was simply the “tip of the iceberg.” I first became knowledgeable about the brain when my mother was in a catastrophic accident, and she required emergency brain surgery to survive. After the surgery, she was tasked with relearning how to eat, walk, talk, and remember again. And I have been by her side ever since. And through years working with neurologists, neurosurgeons and therapists, I discovered how the human brain reshapes and heals itself. 

During my mother’s major recovery, I was completing my master’s degree in mathematics, and I was working as a rocket scientist, helping launch NASA’s Space Shuttle and vehicles to distant planets. It took every ounce of my strength and sanity to endure my mother’s ordeal while working. Through these life-altering experiences, I realized that Space and the human brain were nearly identical. And as I learned many things about Space that amazed me, I became equally in awe about the brain’s phenomenon. The same applications of Chaos Theory mathematics that allowed engineers to find superhighways in space with limited fuel, is the same way that the brain builds superhighways to rewire itself. I was further amazed when I recognized that Albert Einstein’s famous Theory of Relativity equation did not just deal with Outer Space. It also deals with our “Inner Space,” the true power that we harness within our brains’ structure. My epiphany allowed me in helping my mother’s brain heal faster. Through it, I discovered a new structure to the brain and how energy is characterized through it.

Through my personal experiences, my understanding of mathematics, neuroplasticity, and Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, I have discovered the TRIABRAIN, and the Triabrain Theory of Relativity. A Triabrain refers to the brain operating in three main modes. And a person’s brain energy from the Triabrain translates itself into both mass and light. Brain energy from its interior particle collisions and neuron synapsis forms both interior and exterior mass structures to the brain, and this is multiplied by the speed of light squared. Light in this case is characterized by the neurons’ brain fire in milliseconds, which triggers conscious awareness. I will breakdown this concept with more clarity.

Nearly twelve years after my mother’s accident, the unthinkable happened. This May 2016, my older sister went through a medical accident that required emergency brain surgery for her survival. Painful history seemed to repeat itself. However difficult both my mother’s and sister’s brain surgeries were to witness, I was inspired. These were opportunities to share the life-changing knowledge that I acquired through their ordeals. 

The TRIABRAIN: Everyone Has It

The TRIABRAIN is composed of three main sectors. As long as humans are alive, the brain naturally reshapes. But in some, it reshapes faster. It reshapes the fastest when a person consciously uses their full three sectors: the left (scientific logical) side, the right (emotional and creative) side, and a newly discovered third side I call the faith (foreseeing) side that connects itself. Unlike the common knowledge of the left and right side operation, the faith side of the brain is the third sector that connects both the brain’s left and right side together, as well as connects itself to the outside world. When the brain is linked through all three sections, the brain reshapes, unleashes answers and regrows. And this faith sector operates independent of the constraints of time and space. 

During my sister’s ordeal, I was teaching as a college mathematics professor and hosting live on my Radio show Answers Unleashed. The talk show was originally designed to encourage college students to overcome situations by reshaping their brains with science and faith to find the answers in front of them. I share more information about the “The Triabrain” in the first episode. But little did I know that my talk show information would contribute to a new dimension of neuroscience.

The Triabrain’s Faith Sector

The third side of the Triabrain is the faith sector. When people think of the brain, they typically think of a series of connections separated by a left side and a right side. All the connections, pathways and their housings that communion the brain’s ability to communicate fully with itself are what I call the faith sector. This part of the brain connects the left and right sides. It helps people overcome major obstacles, and inspires people to create new technology. Plus, it appears to initiate significant body healing.  

I am witnessing that highly innovative and triumphant people use this third faith side of the brain to do great things, independent of time and space. Let’s consider some examples. Olympic athletes often envision themselves winning the gold medal before the games begin. Inventors have visions of new technologies before they are created. People who miraculously heal are often the ones who knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that they would recover. And in my TED x talk, I speak of how I overcame life challenges despite every odd against my favor. 

For a scientific example, according to the October 27, 2013 Medical Press article, “Neuroscientists discover new ‘mini-neural computer’ in the brain,” dendrites which are the branch-like projections of neurons, were once thought to be passive wiring in the brain. However scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are showing that these dendrites are more powerful than once believed. They relay information from one neuron to the next. They actively process information, multiplying the brain’s computing power.

According to the February 22, 2016 Science New Journal article, “A ‘Neuroscience Bombshell’ — Human Brain is Capable of Storing the Entire World Wide Web,” the brain with its connections is far more powerful than the web and is far more powerful than scientists have projected. The article states:

“An average human brain contains around 100 billion neurons and each neuron is capable of making around 1,000 connections (synapses) with the other neurons. These 1,000 potential synapses created by each neuron are responsible for data storage inside the brain. Now if we multiply the count of neurons (100 billion) by the number of connections (1000) that each of them can make, then we get a whopping 100 trillion data points — which can at the very least account for storing about 1000 terabytes or 1 petabyte of information.”

From my personal experience supporting my mother in her brain therapy support groups, I witnessed that the people who typically recovered fastest were the people who saw themselves healed before test results returned. Naturally while working with brain specialists, I needed to know the science behind such phenomenon. And I was surprised when I discovered that the brain’s reshaping science had yet to be fully understood. So as a scientist, I started applying my own tools of math and science to find answers.

The Science Behind The Triabrain and Brain Reshaping

I am seeing that Space and the human brain are almost identical in its structure through the application of Chaos Theory Mathematics. To fly to distant locations in our solar system with a fixed amount of fuel, a “freeway” through the solar system — resembling a vast array of virtual winding tunnels and conduits around the Sun and planets — allowed engineers to fly to distant planets like Mars and Jupiter. With all the crooks and turns used to transport rockets as I describe in my Huffington Post Martian Movie Review by a Rocket Scientist, there are identical unknown crooks and turns in the human brain that are used to transfer knowledge from one area to another faster, igniting the frontal lobes as a result. And these frontal lobes are responsible for creating solutions.

According to Dr. Caroline Leaf, a neuroscientist and author specializing in brain neuroplasticity and cognitive therapy, when a person experiences fear or trauma, dark tar-like mass forms in the brain that binds brain tissue together. The mass is like glue. This mass causes cognitive issues and grows with the presence of fear and trauma. It is through my scientific understanding that these masses block the original pathways and forces the interior of the brain to alter its superhighway pathways, creating new crooks and crannies to certain pathways. As a result, massive structures block the physical space and brain’s fire. However through my chaos math analysis, the brain fire acts like a rocket traveling in space. The brain information travels on two types of pathways: where information can stall, or where it would accelerate to an intended destination. And unlike brain synapses that consists of a presynaptic ending that contains neurotransmitters, mitochondria and other cell organelles, these brains neurons are specially acting on each other through collisions caused by blockages.  

Through the blockage caused by the dark-trauma-mass, neurons form collisions on a miniature scale to us, but it constitutes a large collision in the brain space. And Einstein’s Theory of Relativity characterizes their action. Ideally, all neurons are electrically excitable, maintaining voltage gradients across their membranes. And neurotransmitters tell a neuron either to fire, or not.  

Neuroplasticity science has yet to incorporate Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, gravitational waves, chaos theory mathematics together within understanding how the brain reshapes itself. As a result, through my understanding of the brain, this led to the Triabrain Theory of Relativity, which says that the brain is composed of three sectors and the third sector consists of all the brain connections transferring energy inside and outside of itself using principles of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. In this faith sector, it converts energy to mass in conjunction with light. Light can defined as the way in which a person is consciously aware of the world based on their location in space. Religious officials may call this “c” in the equation the effects of “holy enlightenment.” And some energy workers may refer to this “c” as “awareness.”

Einstein’s theory hinged his proof on the fact that gravitational waves existed, which was recently proven when audio recordings captured two black holes colliding in January 2016. The Scientific American Special Report on February 14, 2016 “The Discovery of Gravitational Waves” gives a detailed account of all The Laser Interferometer Gravitational Observatory (LIGO) gravitational wave discoveries. As a background, gravitational waves are “ripples” in space-time produced by violent events in the cosmos, such as the collisions and mergers of massive black holes. Their existence was predicted by Einstein in 1916, when he showed that accelerating massive objects would shake space-time so much that waves distorted space. Similar to the way two black holes collided in space, brain neurons and dark brain masses collide and merge. These collisions are considered massive in the brain space, thus they exert a force in the brain space, resulting in brain gravitational waves that I call Triabrain Waves. 

These waves are apart of the brain energy structure that directly builds (or destroys) mass in conjunction with brain light. These waves work to connect the left and right brain together and serve to reshape the brain’s interior. The Triabrain Waves are a part of the brain’s energy system that also sends waves exterior to the brain. This is the reason why a person may call when you are thinking about him or her. Or friends may know each other’s thoughts for a split second. This energy is sensed by all living organisms. These waves reshape the brain and its physical properties are similar to how gravitational waves in space pierce through all matter. But most importantly, I believe these Triabrain Waves are the foundation of all future neuroplasticity science, human intuition studies and is the method in which prayer and faith work to change the exterior world.

For more information about the Triabrain, listen to my Answers Unleashed talk thow episode “Triabrain“ by clicking the link.

So instead of looking at my two family members’ situations as tragedies, I chose to look at these brain surgeries as blessings. Their recoveries help shed light on our brains’ powerful reshaping capabilities, as well as the energy we have yet to fully harness. There is still much for us to understand about the brain. And I welcome other scientists to help in developing this knowledge. And hopefully, this blog is a significant introduction to unlocking a new way of thinking about the brain’s true capabilities, outside of a science fiction movie seen in theaters.

Until next time, find me on facebook on and share your thoughts.

How To Never Get Angry: 3 New Secrets From Neuroscience

How To Never Get Angry: 3 New Secrets From Neuroscience
They’re one inch from your face, boiling with rage, screaming and yelling at you.

And all you want to do is scream and yell back. But you know that’s not going to be good for anyone…

I’ve talked before about how to deal with others who are angry and irrational, but how can you control those emotions in yourself?

Looking at the neuroscience, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it.

So let’s dig into the research on how to get rid of anger, what you’re doing wrong, how to do it right and how it can make you and those around you much happier…


Suppressing Anger Is Rarely A Good Idea
You grit your teeth and hold it in: “I’m fine.”

The good news is suppression works. You can bottle up your feelings and not look angry. However…

It’s almost always a bad idea. Yes, it prevents the anger from getting out, but when you fight your feelings they only get stronger.

Via The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking:

…when experimental subjects are told of an unhappy event, but then instructed to try not to feel sad about it, they end up feeling worse than people who are informed of the event, but given no instructions about how to feel. In another study, when patients who were suffering from panic disorders listened to relaxation tapes, their hearts beat faster than patients who listened to audiobooks with no explicitly ‘relaxing’ content. Bereaved people who make the most effort to avoid feeling grief, research suggests, take the longest to recover from their loss.

When you try to stop yourself from crying, the tears aren’t cathartic. You don’t feel better afterward.

And anger is no different. What happens in the brain when you try to clamp down on that rage? A whole mess of bad stuff.

Your ability to experience positive feelings goes down — but not negative feelings. Stress soars. And your amygdala (a part of the brain closely associated with emotions) starts working overtime.

Via Handbook of Emotion Regulation:

…experimental studies have shown that suppression leads to decreased positive but not negative emotion experience (Gross, 1998a; Gross & Levenson, 1993, 1997; Stepper & Strack, 1993; Strack, Martin, & Stepper, 1988), increased sympathetic nervous system responses (Demaree et al., 2006; Gross, 1998a; Gross & Levenson, 1993, 1997; Harris, 2001; Richards & Gross, 2000), and greater activation in emotion-generative brain regions such as the amygdala (Goldin, McRae, Ramel, & Gross, 2008).

And here’s what’s really interesting: when you suppress your feelings, the encounter gets worse for the angry person, too.

You clamp down on your emotions and the other person’s blood pressure spikes. And they like you less. Studies show that over the long haul this can lead to lousy relationships that aren’t as rewarding.

Via Handbook of Emotion Regulation:

Socially, experimental studies have reported that suppression leads to less liking from social interaction partners, and to an increase in partners’ blood pressure levels (Butler et al., 2003). Correlational studies support these laboratory findings. Individuals who typically use suppression report avoiding close relationships and having less positive relations with others; this dovetails with peers’ reports that suppressors have relationships with others that are less emotionally close (English, John, & Gross, 2013; Gross & John, 2003; Srivastava, Tamir, McGonigal, John, & Gross, 2009).

And fighting your feelings uses a lot of willpower. So afterwards you have less control and that’s why you’re more likely to do things you regret after you’re angry:

…bad moods foster risk taking by impairing self-regulation instead of by altering subjective utilities. Studies 5 and 6 showed that the risky tendencies are limited to unpleasant moods accompanied by high arousal; neither sadness nor neutral arousal resulted in destructive risk taking.

(To learn how to win every argument, click here.)

Now some of you might be saying, “I knew bottling it up was bad! You should let that anger out!”



Don’t Vent Your Anger
So you punch that pillow. Or yell and rant about the encounter to a friend. Not a good idea.

Venting your anger doesn’t reduce it. Venting intensifies emotion.

Via Handbook of Emotion Regulation:

…focusing on a negative emotion will likely intensify the experience of that emotion further and thus make down-regulation more difficult, leading to lower adjustment and well-being.

Sharing your feelings with others constructively is a good idea but “getting it out” tends to snowball your anger.

What does work? Distracting yourself. But why would distraction help?

Because your brain has limited resources. Thinking about something else means you have less brainpower to dwell on the bad stuff:

Research suggests it is because both cognitive tasks and emotional responses make use of the same limited mental resources (Baddeley, 2007; Siemer, 2005; Van Dillen & Koole, 2007)… That is, the resources that are used to perform a cognitive task are no longer available for emotional processes. Accordingly, people can rid themselves from unwanted feelings by engaging in a cognitive activity, such as doing math equations (Van Dillen & Koole, 2007), playing a game of Tetris ( Holmes, James, Coode-Bate, & Deeprose , 2008)…

You know that famous marshmallow test?

Experimenters put a kid alone in a room with a marshmallow. If the child can resist eating it, they get two marshmallows later. The kids who succeeded in waiting went on to achieve better grades and more success in life. (They also stayed out of jail.)

Now this study has been covered a lot, but what they don’t usually talk about is how the successful kids avoided temptation; how they reduced those powerful emotions screaming, “EAT THE MARSHMALLOW NOW!!!”

They distracted themselves. Walter Mischel, who led the famous study, explains.

Via The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control:

Successful delayers created all sorts of ways to distract themselves and to cool the conflict and stress they were experiencing. They transformed the aversive waiting situation by inventing imaginative, fun distractions that took the struggle out of willpower: they composed little songs (“This is such a pretty day, hooray”; “This is my home in Redwood City”), made funny and grotesque faces, picked their noses, cleaned their ear canals and toyed with what they discovered there, and created games with their hands and feet, playing their toes as if they were piano keys.

And this works with other “hot” emotions too — like anger.

(To learn the secrets of grit from a Navy SEAL, click here.)

I know, I know; when someone is yelling in your face it’s really hard to distract yourself. But there’s a way to do this that’s very easy and backed by neuroscience research…


The Answer? “Reappraisal”
Imagine the scene again: someone is screaming at you, one inch from your face.

You want to scream back. Or even hit them.

But what if I told you their mother passed away yesterday? Or that they were going through a tough divorce and just lost custody of their kids?

You’d let it go. You’d probably even respond to their anger with compassion.

What changed? Not the event. Situation is the same. But the story you’re telling yourself about the event changed everything.

As famed researcher Albert Ellis said: You don’t get frustrated because of events, you get frustrated because of your beliefs.

Research shows that when someone is exploding at you a good way to “reappraise” the situation and resist getting angry is simply to think:

“It’s not about me. They must be having a bad day.”

As one of the neuroscientists behind the study said:

“If you’re trained with reappraisal, and you know your boss is frequently in a bad mood, you can prepare yourself to go into a meeting,” Blechert suggested. “He can scream and yell and shout but there’ll be nothing.”

When you change your beliefs about a situation, your brain changes the emotions you feel.

Via Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long:

In one of Ochsner’s reappraisal experiments, participants are shown a photo of people crying outside a church, which naturally makes participants feel sad. They are then asked to imagine the scene is a wedding, that people are crying tears of joy. At the moment that participants change their appraisal of the event, their emotional response changes, and Ochsner is there to capture what is going on in their brain using an fMRI. As Ochsner explains, “Our emotional responses ultimately flow out of our appraisals of the world, and if we can shift those appraisals, we shift our emotional responses.”

Reappraisal works for anxiety too. Reinterpreting stress as excitement can improve your performance on tests.

And what happens in your brain?

Your amygdala doesn’t get worked up like it does with suppression. In fact, the little guy calms down.

Via Handbook of Emotion Regulation:

Evidence that reappraisal can directly influence this amygdala circuitry comes from consistent findings in positron emission tomographic (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies of healthy individuals showing reappraisal-dependent decreases in amygdala activation in response to negative stimuli.

As opposed to bottling up, when you tell yourself “they’re having a bad day“, angry feelings plummet and good feelings increase.

Via Handbook of Emotion Regulation:

By contrast, experimental studies have shown that reappraisal leads to decreased levels of negative emotion experience and increased positive emotion experience (Gross, 1998a; Feinberg, Willer, Antonenko, & John, 2012; Lieberman, Inagaki, Tabibnia, & Crockett, 2011; Ray, McRae, Ochsner, & Gross, 2010; Szasz, Szentagotai, & Hofmann, 2011; Wolgast, Lundh, & Viborg, 2011), has no impact on or even decreases sympathetic nervous system responses (Gross, 1998a; Kim & Hamann, 2012; Stemmler, 1997; Shiota & Levenson, 2012; Wolgast et al., 2011), and leads to lesser activation in emotion-generative brain regions such as the amygdala (Goldin et al., 2008; Kanske, Heissler, Schonfelder, Bongers, & Wessa, 2011; Ochsner & Gross, 2008; Ochsner et al., 2004) and ventral striatum (Staudinger, Erk, Abler, & Walter, 2009).

What about the social results? People who reappraise report better relationships — and their friends agree.

Via Handbook of Emotion Regulation:

Reappraisal, by contrast, has no detectable adverse consequences for social affiliation in a laboratory context (Butler et al., 2003). Correlational studies support these findings: Individuals who typically use reappraisal are more likely to share their emotions— both positive and negative— and report having closer relationships with friends, which matches their peers’ reports of greater liking (Gross & John, 2003; Mauss et al., 2011).

You know when you get angry and start telling yourself, “They’re out to get me! They want to make my life miserable!”

That’s reappraisal too — in the wrong direction. You’re telling yourself a story that’s even worse than reality. And your anger soars. So don’t do that.

As the infomercials always say, “But wait there’s more!” Reappraisal holds another big benefit: remember how suppression sapped self-control and made you do stuff you later regretted?

Well, just like the kids in the marshmallow experiment, reappraisal can increase your willpower and help you behave better after intense moments.

Walter Mischel explains:

The marshmallow experiments convinced me that if people can change how they mentally represent a stimulus, they can exert self-control and escape from being victims of the hot stimuli that have come to control their behavior.

(To learn the secret to how to get people to like you — from an FBI behavior expert, click here.)

Okay, let’s wrap this up and learn the research-backed way to make sure that anger doesn’t come back…


Sum Up
Here’s how to get rid of anger:

Suppress rarely. They may not know you’re angry but you’ll feel worse inside and hurt the relationship.

Don’t vent. Communication is good but venting just increases anger. Distract yourself.

Reappraisal is usually the best option. Think to yourself, “It’s not about me. They must be having a bad day.”

Sometimes someone gets under your skin and suppression is the only thing you can do to avoid a homicide charge. And sometimes reappraisal can cause you to tolerate bad situations you need to get out of.

But that said, telling yourself a more compassionate story about what’s going on inside the other person’s head is usually the best way to go.

And what’s the final step in getting rid of that anger over the long haul so you can maintain good relationships?


It’s not for them, it’s for you. Forgiveness makes you less angry and more healthy:

Trait forgiveness was significantly associated with fewer medications and less alcohol use, lower blood pressure and rate pressure product; state forgiveness was significantly associated with lower heart rate and fewer physical symptoms. Neither of these sets of findings were the result of decreased levels of anger-out being associated with forgiveness. These findings have important theoretical implications regarding the forgiveness–health link, suggesting that the benefits of forgiveness extend beyond the dissipation of anger.

As the old saying goes: Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

So remember: “They’re just having a bad day.”

If it can stop these tykes from gobbling marshmallows it can stop you from going ballistic on people.

8 Ways to Deal With Difficult People

Elyse Santilli: 8 Ways to Deal With Difficult People

8 Ways to Deal With Difficult People

 13 hours ago | Updated 12 hours ago

Elyse Santilli Writer and life coach at, your guidebook to happiness and creating a beautiful life

 Teacher Ram Dass once said: “If you think you are so enlightened, go and spend a week with your parents.”

It’s great advice. Whether it’s your parent, lover, friend or colleague, we all have people who trigger us. Something about them touches our wounds and brings out the worst in us — our pain, irritation, impatience, anger or even hostility.

Sound familiar? If so, here are eight powerful ways you can deal with difficult people who push your buttons.

1. Set your intention.

Our intentions shape our day and our destiny. If you know you will be spending time with someone who triggers you, set an intention in advance of your encounter.

I intend to feel good. I intend to stay calm. I intend to embody love and kindness.

Your intention will help guide your thoughts and actions. You can also bring your intention to mind whenever you feel tempted to slip back into old patterns of reaction and negativity.

2. Practice mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the art of being present in the moment and observing your thoughts and feelings as they arise, rather than getting lost in them and confusing them with who you are.

When you are mindful, you have more control over your reactions to life. When someone triggers an emotional response in your body or a negative thought in your mind, you take a step back and observe what is happening inside of you.

Being the observer gives you the space and opportunity to take a few deep breaths, centre yourself, and consciously choose a new positive response — rather than mindlessly reacting out of habit and instinct.

3. Open your heart.

Negative emotional states usually provoke a noticeable physical response in your body — you may feel a knot in your throat or stomach, your muscles tense, or heat and heaviness around your heart area.

In that moment, you are closing off your heart centre and trapping the negative energy you feel inside of you. When you store this energy inside your being, you will continue to attract — and be triggered by — similar people and events in your future.

The next time you feel triggered and your body begins to tense up, make a conscious decision to take a few deep breaths, relax your shoulders, and imagine your heart opening — no matter how much it feels like closing. As you continue to breathe deeply, allow your feelings to rise and then fall away again, like a wave in the ocean.

4. See the gift.

Difficult people who push our buttons can be one of our greatest gifts in life. By bringing out the worst in us, they make us aware of where we need to grow. By touching our inner wounds, they bring them to the surface where they can be examined and healed.

Often we feel triggered now because of an incident in our past that we never fully healed from or released. Instead, we kept the memory, emotional pain or consequent self-limiting story buried deep within our heart and subconscious.

The poet Rumi once wrote: “Your task is not to see for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

Thank the difficult people in your life, for they are showing you the barriers you may have constructed around your heart in the past to protect yourself that may now be limiting your experience and influencing what you can attract into your life. 

Once you dissolve these barriers by forgiving the past and choosing to remain mindful and open-hearted in the present, you open yourself up to greater experiences of love, joy and inner peace.

5. Be wary of unexamined assumptions.

Sometimes we react negatively to people because we have conscious or unconscious beliefs and expectations about who they are and how they should act.

We may also have a hidden agenda to gain something from them to fill a void in ourselves — like love, praise or support. When they don’t provide what we seek in the form we are seeking it, we feel resentful and irritable.

In either case, there is an unexamined assumption running the show: that other people are in some way responsible for your happiness.

The truth is, your happiness is entirely up to you. No one can take it from you (unless you let them) and no one is responsible for making sure you are happy.

We are all responsible for filling ourselves up so that we feel loved and supported from within. And when we do, the people in our life will often naturally change their behaviour to become more loving and supportive towards us, because our outer world is always a reflection of our inner state of being.

Make it a habit to sit alone for five minutes each morning and imagine your heart and body filling up with love and light from above. Carry this feeling with you throughout the day.

We search the world for happiness in romantic partners, jobs, houses and bank balances, and yet we are so quick to throw it away at the slightest provocation. Start valuing your happiness like it is one of your most prized possessions — it is.

6. Practice forgiveness.

Everyone is doing their best from their level of consciousness and awareness.

Often, the people who trigger us are not even fully aware of the effect they are having on us. Even if they are aware, they may not be in a position to change their behaviour yet, simply because they are so deeply trapped in their own mind, patterns and emotional wounds.

Practice forgiveness whenever you are able to. Forgiveness does not mean condoning their behaviour. Forgiveness means seeing past their external behaviour to the light of their inner spirit, their soul, which is made of the same energy and love as your own soul – it’s just been temporarily obscured.

Don’t forget to forgive yourself too — have compassion for yourself and the challenging situation you are in, which is calling upon you to grow and be your best.

7. Be the lighthouse.

People can bring out the worst in each other, or bring out the best in each other.

The same way that a group of people meditating can have a positive ripple effect on the world, your own loving energy, peace and grace can have a positive effect on the difficult people in your life.

Many people are unable to see or change their own destructive patterns and behaviour. However, when you hold a positive space for them, staying calm, loving and present, this can allow them to subtly shift into these feelings too.

Picture yourself as the lighthouse, cultivating your inner light and love for those who need it.

8. Ask your Higher Self for help.

The book A Course In Miracles states: “Fear is a sure sign you are relying on your own strength.”

You are not in this alone. If you doubt your ability to remain calm, present and open-hearted around someone difficult in your life, call upon your Higher Self to step in and guide you through it.

You can establish the connection with a small pause and prayer: Higher Self, I desire to deal with this person in my life with compassion, patience and love. I’m not sure whether I can remain calm, so I step aside and let you lead the way. And so it will be.

Elyse is a writer, life coach and happiness teacher at and the creator of the Beautiful Life Bootcamp online course. She teaches people to align with their inner spirit, design a life they love, and expand their happiness and inner peace. 

the unreliable narrator 

The Unreliable Narrator

The most powerful stories may be the ones we tell ourselves, says BRENÉ BROWN. But beware—they’re usually fiction.

MY HUSBAND, Steve, and I were having one of those days. That morning, we’d overslept, Charlie couldn’t find his backpack, and Ellen had to drag herself out of bed because she’d been up late studying. Then at work I had five back-to-back meetings, and Steve, a pediatrician, was dealing with cold-and-flu season. By dinnertime, we were practically in tears.

Steve opened the refrigerator and sighed. “We have no groceries. Not even lunch meat.” I shot back, “I’m doing the best I can. You can shop, too!” “I know,” he said in a measured voice. “I do it every week. What’s going on?”

I knew exactly what was going on: I had turned his comment into a story about how I’m a disorganized, unreliable partner and mother. I apologized and started my next sentence with the phrase that’s become a lifesaver in my marriage, parenting, and professional life: “The story I’m making up is that you were blaming me for not having groceries, that I was screwing up.”

Steve said, “No, I was going to shop yesterday, but I didn’t have time. I’m not blaming you. I’m hungry.”

Storytelling helps us all impose order on chaos—including emotional chaos. When we’re in pain, we create a narrative to help us make sense of it. This story doesn’t have to be based on any real information: One dismissive glance from a coworker can instantly turn into I knew she didn’t like me. I responded to Steve so defensively because when I’m in doubt, the “I’m not enough” explanation is often the first thing I grab. It’s like my comfy jeans—maybe not flattering, but familiar.

Our stories are also about self-protection. I told myself Steve was blaming me so I could be mad instead of admitting that I was vulnerable or afraid of feeling inadequate. I could disengage from the tougher stuff. That’s what human beings tend to do: When we’re under threat, we run. If we feel exposed or hurt, we find someone to blame, or blame ourselves before anyone else can, or pretend we don’t care.

But this unconscious storytelling leaves us stuck. We keep tripping over the same issues, and after we fall, we find it hard to get back up again. But in my research on shame and vulnerability, I’ve also learned a lot about resilience. For my book Rising Strong, I spent time with many amazing people—from Fortune 500 leaders to long-married couples—who are skilled at recovering from setbacks, and they have one common characteristic: They can recognize their own confabulations and challenge them. The good news is that we can rewrite these stories. We just have to be brave enough to reckon with our deepest emotions.

In navigation, dead reckoning is how you calculate your location. It involves knowing where you’ve been and how you got there—speed, route, wind conditions. It’s the same with life: We can’t chart a new course until we find out where we are, how we came to that point, and where we want to go. Reckon comes from the Old English recenian, meaning “to narrate.” When you reckon with emotion, you can change your narrative. You have to acknowledge your feelings and get curious about the story behind them. Then you can challenge those confabulations and get to the truth.

I’ll walk you through it. The next time you’re in a situation that pushes your buttons—from a breakup to a setback at work—and you’re overwhelmed by anger, disappointment, or embarrassment, try this practice.

Engage with your feelings.

Your body may offer the first clue that you’re having an emotional reaction; for instance, your boss assigns the project you wanted to a colleague, and your face begins to feel hot. Or your response may involve racing thoughts or replaying the event in slow motion. You don’t need to know exactly where the feelings are coming from; you just have to acknowledge them.

My stomach is in knots.

I want to punch a wall.

I need Oreos. Lots of them.

Get curious about the story behind the feelings.

Now you’re going to ask yourself a few questions. Again, it’s not necessary to answer them right off the bat.

Why am I being so hard on everyone?

What happened right before this Oreo craving set in?

I’m obsessing over what my sister said. Why?

This step can be surprisingly difficult. You’re furious because Todd got the project, but it may feel easier to steamroll over your anger with contempt: Todd’s a brownnoser. This company’s a joke. Getting curious about your feelings may lead to some hard discoveries: What if you’re more hurt than you realized? Or whatif your attitude could have played a part? But pushing through discomfort is how we get to the truth.

Write it down.

The most effective way to become truly aware of our stories is to write them down, so get your thoughts on paper. Nothing fancy—you can just finish these sentences:

The story I’m making up…

My emotions…

My body…

My thinking…

My beliefs…

My actions…

For instance, you might write, I’m so peeved. I feel like I’m having a heatstroke. She thinks I’m incapable. I want to hurl a stapler.

You can be mad, self-righteous, confused. A story driven by emotion and self-protection probably doesn’t involve accuracy, logic, or civility. If your story contains those things, it’s likely that you’re not being fully honest.

Get ready to rumble.

It’s time to poke and prod at your findings, exploring the ins and outs. The first questions may be the simplest:

1. What are the facts, and what are my assumptions?

I really don’t know why my boss picked Todd. And I didn’t tell her I was interested in the project—I figured she knew.

2. What do I need to know about the others involved?

Maybe Todd has some special skill or she has me in mind for something else.

Now we get to the more difficult questions:

3. What am I really feeling? What part did I play?

I feel so worthless. I’m failing in my career. And I don’t want to ask for anything because someone might say no.

You may learn that you’ve been masking shame with cynicism, or that being vulnerable and asking for what you want is preferable to stewing in resentment. These truths may be uncomfortable, but they can be the basis of meaningful change.

Figuring out your own story could take 20 minutes or 20 years. And you may not make one big transformation; maybe it’s a series of incremental changes. You just have to feel your way through.

If you’re thinking this sounds too hard, I get it. The reckoning can feel dangerous because you’re confronting yourself—your fear, aggression, shame, and blame. Facing our stories takes courage. But owning our stories is the only way we get to write a brave new ending.

Brené Brown, PhD, is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work and the author of Daring Greatly. This essay is adapted from her new book, Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution.


“What stories can do…is make things present.”

courtesy O Magazine