Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Want to Feel Better? Try the Happiness Formula

By: Dwight Bain

USA Today Newspaper asked readers “What do you want the most?” and the most common answer was to be happy.

While this sounds reasonable, it’s actually quite a puzzle because happiness is very individualized and hard to broadly define. What makes one person happy may not have much effect on another, or might even annoy them.

While the formula of what creates happiness is elusive, (think of Thomas Jefferson’s writing about the “Pursuit of Happiness”), the physical and psychological benefits of happiness are easy to track. Here’s a short list of the benefits of being happier.

·          Happy people are better liked

·          Happy people have more satisfying relationships with others

·          Happy people have 13% fewer fights and arguments

·          Happy students are 20% more likely to get “A” grades

·          Happy teens are 10 times less likely to start smoking

·          Happy people have an income that is roughly 7% higher

·          Happy people have 10% fewer stress related illnesses

·          Happiness reduces blood pressure by 12%

·         Overall, positive emotions can add up to 7 years to your life
Lack of happiness leads to a feeling of discontentment, discouragement and sometimes even despair over how they perceive their lives are not working out. It seems tied to a perception of what creates the feeling of having “Enough” to be happy. Enough money, enough food, enough entertainment, enough friends, enough shoes… and that list could go on and on.  Since there is no end to trying to achieve, accomplish or accumulate more, for some people there is no end to how moody and grumpy they feel, not even realizing their expectation of wanting more was creating their own feelings of unhappiness.
Yet having material possessions can’t explain how a general feeling of happiness floods some countries, while being absent in others. In 2013 the most grateful countries were India, South Africa, the Philippines and Nigeria with the United States coming in eleventh but not as far behind as the least happy countries of Denmark, Hungary, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom.

Here is the key to finding and experiencing greater happiness, no matter if you are six, thirty-six or sixty-six. You have to think differently. Feeling happy is not based on externals, like having a good hair day or finding a parking spot near the front of the store rather it’s based on a mindset because happiness is an inside job. It’s based on attitude, not circumstances.

 “Most people are about as happy as they make up their mind to be.” – Abraham Lincoln

Here is a rapid formula to find more happiness, and it’s easy to remember because it spells out the popular phrase from a Bobby McFerrin song, who challenged listeners to “Don’t worry - Be Happy.”

– Belief.  Your belief about your circumstances greatly affects your feelings of happiness. If you are unhappy with not having a new pair of shoes, spend some time with a person who doesn’t have any feet. When you change your belief system, you change everything.

– Expectations . What you expect about your life will set you up for feelings of blessings or problems. If you are looking for the best, you will find it. If you are looking for something that isn’t working the way you want you will find that too. Consider the old phrase – “Two men looked through prison bars- one saw the mud, the other saw the stars.”

H –  Help others.  People who helped others were 20% happier than people who didn’t get involved in trying to make a positive difference. This can be done through your family, school, church or community and is the foundation of what happier people do. They add value to other people.

A –  Accept circumstances.  No amount of worry can pay your rent. Being mad and moody will not make your marriage better. Facing your life directly, and taking action to work on it is the key to finding greater happiness. Stuffing your feelings inside and being mad at the world only hurts you.

P –  Prayer.  Being a person of faith who believes that God has a greater plan for life is one of the keys to experiencing greater happiness, meaning and joy. Prayer is the process of giving up control of the things you can’t control to God, and then trusting in a power greater than yourself to manage the events and circumstances of life. The single greatest element to experience a life filled with happiness is to have a little faith.

– Perspective.  How you perceive a situation really does create your reality. If you believe people like you more when you smile and act friendly you will see that they do. When you have a positive mindset and outlook on life you will usually find more blessings than problems and that will create greater happiness.

– Yell “Yes”  to celebrate the blessings and good things in your life, every single day.

Happiness may be hard to define for some people but when you practice this simple formula you will be living out the wisdom of cartoonist Bill Keane who said, “God is Good and Life is a Gift. That’s why they call it the Present.”
About the Author –  Dwight Bain is a counselor and life coach focused on creating positive change based in Orlando. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Secret Lie of Narcissism

By Christine Hammond, LMHC

Beneath all of that bravado and charm lies a hidden secret the narcissist doesn’t want you to find. They will do anything to protect their secret from you.

They might lie about it.  Or they might divert your attention with an innovative story. Or they might project their secret onto you. Come close to figuring it out and the result is warfare for control.

Narcissists will use all types of abuse to dominate you. They use verbal (i.e. threats, intimidation), physical (i.e. restraining, choking), emotional (i.e. fear or guilt tactics), mental (i.e. gaslighting, silent treatment), financial (i.e. withholding, exploitation), sexual (i.e. forced, coerced) or spiritual (i.e. isolation from family, legalism) forms of abuse.

Their fear is this… information equals power. If you know their secret, you will then embarrass or humiliate them. This is the worst thing they can imagine... others thinking less of them.

So what is this precious secret? Hidden deep inside, all narcissists have an overwhelming feeling of insecurity. Their lack of self-worth stems from some unmet need. Find the unmet need and you have discovered the Achilles’ heel. Here are a few examples.

Need for love. Many narcissists are raised by narcissists who practice conditional instead of unconditional love. This uncertainty of love often manifests in the insatiable desire for affirmation, attention, intimacy, or sex. When they don’t feel loved, narcissists seek out anyone who will satisfy their need.

Need for safety. When a narcissist has been traumatized as a child and hurt by someone they love, the need for future safety becomes myopic. They are consumed by the need for security and protection for themselves and family members.  Unsafe environments breed the desire for greater control and stronger intensity.

Need for acceptance. Repeated bullying at a young age can cause a narcissist to feel like they don’t belong. This can create a sense of isolation in peer groups. Or instead some narcissists strive in vain to appear to be all things to everyone in order to be accepted. A lack of acceptance often brings out offensive behavior and overreaction to others.

Need for respect. Over use of the phrase, “That is disrespectful” indicates the narcissist feels everyone is against them. Their strong sense of entitlement and favorable treatment creates a tense atmosphere whenever they feel impertinence. Whenever they report being disrespected, expect a verbal or even physical attack as demonstration of their intolerance.

Need for fundamentals. This is not as common in younger narcissists because they have not endured an economical depression. But for the older generation who grew up during the Great Depression, the need for food, shelter, and clothing became a driving force. Not having the fundamentals leads to hording and miserly attitudes.

So what do you do with the new found Achilles’ heel? Recognize that at the heart of a narcissist is a very broken person with the same needs as everyone else. The difference is that their secret need is concealed because of their deep shame and guilt. This is no way justifies their poor behavior but it can help to explain it. How you handle the information is your choice.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Breaking the Worry Cycle

By: Cara Griffin-Locker

She sat with her breath held as the bills lay on the kitchen table.  She did not know how they were all going to get paid or how they would have anything left for food or daily essentials. She started to second guess her decision to leave the job that she had had for eight and a half years. She questioned the wisdom in losing the paid vacation and the health care benefits. Everything started to become overwhelming and the worrying was taking over. It was starting to consume her; what seemed possible now seemed so impossible and the thoughts of having to keep working was very unsettling.  The worrying started to take its toll physically, she found herself not being able to sleep and her appetite had decreased. She realized that she was losing control.

Most of us can probably relate to this scenario - worrying about bills, wanting to be a stay-at-home parent, etc.. If we take a minute we will realize that life is full of things to worry about: what to wear, the kids, vehicles, being able to pay the mortgage, will there ever be enough money? The list is endless; we can exhaust ourselves worrying about the day-to-day stuff. Worrying not only affects a person mentally but physically as well. It can take on many forms and ailments such as headaches, decreased sleep, loss of appetite, stomach aches and so on.

If you are like most people, you probably do not know how to stop the vicious cycle of worrying. Here are 5 helpful tips to help you take back the control that worrying has stolen.

1.       Write down your worries. Writing down your worries will determine whether they are productive or unproductive.  If a worry is productive then it is something that can be resolved now, for example needing to secure accommodation for a vacation, whereas unproductive worrying is something that cannot be resolved now, for example having to make payments on a bill you cannot afford to pay off. Also, when you write down the worrisome thoughts, think of realistic alternatives.

2.      Think about how you would handle your worst case scenario. This often allows for processing and decision-making in a rational state of mind.

3.      Take action on what you can change or have some control over. Evaluate the worrisome thoughts that you feel you cannot take any action on. Consider whether they are excessive or distorted and which ones have very little basis in reality.

4.      Practice relaxation and stress-reduction techniques. A simple thing you can do to help quiet your mind and calm your emotions and body is to breathe in slowly to the count of six and breathe out slowly to the count of six. Do this for 5 minutes; gradually increase to 20 minutes over time.

5.      Accept what you cannot change or have power over in your life. Praying can help with accepting the things we cannot change. Also, remember that God is bigger than any worry you may have. Giving things over to Him is vital.

Stopping the vicious cycle of worrying is a process and one that does not happen overnight.  However, if you start by changing your thought process and implementing these 5 helpful tools, you just may be on your way to a more worry-free life.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

FREE 3 Hour CEU Presentation

“How to have that difficult conversation you’ve been avoiding with your family, coworkers, parents, partner or children.”

Presented by: Dwight Bain, LMHC, NCC, CLC


  1. Identify the most common family secrets and dysfunction to confront.
  2. Gain a strategic approach to confront secrets or addictions with confidence.
  3. Role Play a family confrontation without a conflict to achieve therapeutic goals.
  4. Discover when to challenge, when to confront, and when to refer for inpatient care.
  5. Identify the key elements necessary to re-write a family story.

Date:  Friday, March 20, 2015
Time:  9am – 12pm
Registration and breakfast begin at 8am
Location:  6601 Central Florida Parkway, Orlando FL 32821
Central Florida Behavioral Hospital tours will be available after presentation.

Email Rich Rodriguez by 3/16/15 to register.

Class size is limited.


Central Florida Behavioral Hospital is an approved CEU provider by Florida Department of Health BAP#1030 for the Florida Board of Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists and Licensed Mental Health Counselors and the Florida Board of Nursing Provider # 50-11351 for Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses and ARNPs.  Florida Board of Psychology Provider #: 50-3120 Attendance to the entire program and completion of program evaluation required for contact hour credit.

Friday, March 06, 2015

10 Bad Marriage Communication Habits By: Christine Hammond, LMHC

How would you rate communication with your spouse? Are you a 10: interaction is perfect and both of you feel understood? Are you a 1: there is no exchange? Or are you a 5: there is some discussion but a lot of confusion?
Where ever your score (unless you are a perfect 10), your communication can be improved. The quickest way to move up the scale is to stop some bad communication habits.
  1. Lying – Even small lies have consequences and a pattern of lying breeds mistrust.
  2. Not listening – Thinking about what you are going to say instead of what is being said.
  3. Interrupting – Causes frustration and demonstrates a lack of respect.
  4. Getting distracted – Other things/people are more important than your spouse.
  5. Failing to prioritize – Produces a “Chicken Little” situation – “The sky is falling.”
  6. Taking things personally – Not all comments (direct or indirect) are about you.
  7. Assuming – This makes an “ass out of you and me”.
  8. Name calling / yelling – Borders on abusive or controlling tactics.
  9. Over-explaining – More is not better when it comes to explaining.
  10. Bringing up the past – Some things are better left in the past where they belong.
For optimal results, focus on your bad habits first before highlighting your spouse’s bad habits. Once you have made a noticeable improvement, it will be far easier to discuss your concerns with your spouse.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Dating in the Millennial Era By: Emily Long

Flash back: You just got home from a date that you know went exceptionally well. There was a chemistry, the other person had just the right amount of everything you’re looking for. In the two days following you wait by the phone. After two days, if you haven’t heard from them, you start going through the notions of hurt, rejection, and confusion. Fast forward to the present: The time limit on the “call back” has drastically changed. With the evolution of technology, the “call back” has now turned into a “text back” and normally it’s within an hour of the person leaving. Something simple like “I had a great time tonight.” The conversation goes on for a little bit and you think you really have a connection with this person. Then the day comes, whether it be before or after your second date, that they disappear. Your life turns into a front-row magic show where you’re left wondering what happened. The psychological torture of the hurt, rejection, and confusion becomes more intense due to the fact that it takes 30 seconds to send a text message. Instead of jumping every time a phone rang loudly next to you like back in the day, you now jump every time your text message alert goes off. You never come to a full conclusion of what went wrong and eventually you learn to let it go. What other choice do you have? But then two months later, you get that text you’ve been waiting for. The spiral of confusion begins again.

The dating game has now changed into a giant psychological game of different scenarios that in the end, mostly all have the same result: unanswered questions. The only question that really should be pending is: Why do we put each other through all of this? It should be simple; if you don’t like someone you tell them (kindly) that you weren’t feeling it or into it. In their maturity, they should be understanding. Post Korean War, a code of conduct was put into effect following the exploitation of U.S. POWs through psychological torture. Although this does not compare to what these soldiers went through, it sparks an idea: Why can’t dating have a code of conduct? With dating now at your fingertips through websites such as Match and Christian Mingle, why not establish some guidelines to save each other from the ensuing confusion? Here are a few:

  1. What if I’m just not feeling it?
Yes, honesty can hurt, but what hurts more? Questioning what went wrong. Of course on the first date everyone knows how to glamorize themselves or will know if it just didn’t turn out right. Getting to know the person better might take a couple of dates, but if after that you’re just not into it, tell them. If you’re afraid of hurting their feelings, think about how you’ll actually be helping them more by not leading them on. If they can’t accept the fact that you don’t feel things were going the same way that they do, then that’s a red flag and it’s probably better that you walk away now.


  1. How long do I have to wait to text?
When is it an acceptable amount of time to text them? The answer is very simple: whenever you feel like it.  However, 10 missed calls and 20 text messages are NOT ok! Although you’re already thinking about them non-stop, if something truly significant comes into mind and you want to text them, it’s OK. This is also the time to use your intuition on the conversations. If the other person doesn’t respond with anything to keep the conversation going, don’t try to carry it alone. They may be busy so give them time to respond. If or when they do respond, take it as a positive sign, even if they’re not carrying on a back-to-back text conversation. If they don’t respond at all, take it as a sign to move on.


  1. What do I call them?
You’ve been on a couple dates, or more than that, and you haven’t brought up meeting friends or family yet (way too soon!). Then it happens- you run into someone they know or used to know and courtesy demands that they introduce you. You’re all ears as to how they’re going to refer to you. In this situation, it’s perfectly acceptable to say, “This is my date, (insert name here)”. There’s also the option of being introduced by your first name with a simple explanation of what you’re doing. For example: “This is (insert name here) we’re going to see the new movie that just came out.” The friend you ran into will most likely not push it any further. The questions will come later time when you’re not there.


  1. What do I call us?
If you’ve made it anywhere close to the month dating mark, this question is on your mind. You are constantly questioning how they view you, and wondering if they’re questioning how you view them. Suddenly you’re keyed into anything you think would be a subtle hint as to how the relationship is progressing. If things are clearly going great, don’t be afraid to ask at this point where the relationship is headed, but leave it at that. The response to this question should simply affirm that you’re not wasting your time with this person. Do not pressure them to take it to the next level or it will make them distance themselves from you. 


  1. Social media
Just received a promotion? Immediate Facebook status update! Showing off your new pair of sunglasses? Instagram #selfie! Sleeping through an alarm clock made you late for work? Twitter update! It’s 2015, your whole life is on the internet, so why would you not post about your new relationship/potential relationship (depending on the conversation you had from #4)? You might really like this person and like where things are going, but consider social media as another step in the dating process. Would you introduce them to your parents after the first date? If you answered no (and hopefully you did), then understand it’s almost the same idea. Take your time and enjoy what a relationship is supposed to be about: two people getting to know each other. It’s an exciting feeling to like someone new and want to show them off to the world. The most important people that need to know most likely do at this point anyway, so don’t focus on letting all of your old high school friends know. Relationships build a better foundation when you establish yourselves in each others’ lives than on Facebook.

The most important thing while entering the dating stage is to remember your individuality. Everyone you date isn’t going to be “the one”, they might be one of 50 more to come on the path to finding your match. Enjoy the experience of each person you encounter and remember that they have a heart just as you do. No matter what the outcome, each person you date will be a lesson. Whether you see the lesson immediately or further down the road, have fun and enjoy the adventure!

Helicopter Parenting By: Cara Griffin-Locker, IMH

Anyone who is a parent knows it is the hardest job out there.  Being in charge of another human is the most terrifying yet rewarding experience. From the time they are babies, parents are the sole provider for this tiny life that they have created.  Being able to care for and instruct one’s children is a blessing, yet in the same respect can be a trial.  Parents are the ones they look to for guidance, the ones in control and who have things under control.  Parents control what they eat, wear and do from an early age.  That is until they start realizing that they have the ability to say yes or no and start challenging their parents’ instructions and decision-making. 

The average child’s frontal lobe does not develop until they are 25 years old, so it makes perfect sense that parents would want to remain in control of the decision-making process. Ultimately they are trying to prevent their kids from making mistakes that may alter their lives in a harmful way. Or maybe they are trying to save them from making the same mistakes they made as teens or young adults. As the parents try to remain in control, the kids push away; the parents then try to pull them in closer and soon they feel the power and control they once had slip away as their babies become teens and young adults. When parents feel like they are losing control of their child, they become over-protective. What are the signs of a controlling and/or over-protective parent? If you can answer yes to any of these questions then you may be guilty as charged:

1.       Over-scrutinizing your child’s eating, appearance or social life

2.       Violating their privacy

3.       Pressuring them to be perfect

4.       Forbidding them to question or disagree with you

5.       Being intimidating, overpowering or manipulative

6.       Discouraging them from expressing anger, fear or sadness

7.       Discouraging them from being able to express their individualism

8.       Giving them  no say in any given matter

9.       Unwillingness to admit when you are wrong

10.   Being (or accused of being) unaware of the pain your behavior is causing to your child

If you answered yes to four or more of these questions then you are guilty of helicopter parenting. Here are some helpful hints for the almost controlling (for those in denial) to controlling parent.

·         Evaluate your helpfulness. Some of the controlling things people do actually stem from a desire to be helpful. Unfortunately, in reality, such well-intended actions don’t always end up being helpful. Sit down and honestly evaluate your helping. If an action is effectively causing positive change, keep going. If not, stop doing it.

·         Perfection equals imperfection. No one is perfect, not even you. The more you try to make your child perfect, the more they will fail.  Set them up for success by allowing them to be who they are.  They will be good at some things and not so good at others.  It’s okay - no two people are the same.

·         Practice giving up control. To break the habit of being controlling, you’ll need to get out of your comfort zone and practice giving up control. Slowly working towards letting them make their own decisions will help shape them into the capable confident adult they will need to be.

·         Manage your anxiety. The need to control things comes from an internal anxiety. Turn your attention to managing your anxiety, rather than everything and everyone around you. Learn everything you can about anxiety and dealing with anxious feelings.

·         Accept. You cannot put your child in a bubble to protect them from the world.  They will make mistakes and maybe even some that you yourself have made, but that is how we grow and learn.

·         Therapy. Most of the time we are the product of how we were raised; we are our parents.  Stepping into therapy can be rather difficult but vital if you want to heal from your own wounds and not project them onto your child.

The most important job of a parent is to guide their children in such a way that prepares them for life and all it has to offer.  It is also to illustrate respect, love and understanding through actions and words.  To do this effectively takes finding the right balance between being involved in the lives of one’s children and giving them enough space to grow and express their individuality in the various scenarios that life will throw at them.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Do you know to lead your Community out of Crisis?

Become a Certified Trained Crisis Responder!
School Shooting, Co-Worker Suicide, Bombing, Terrorist Attack, Hurricane, Tornado, Fire, Flood, Multiple Car or Bus Fatality or Airline Disaster - when you hear about a major crisis do you know what to do to help someone?
If a community shooting or disaster happened at your workplace, school, church or neighborhood would you know what to do?
Would you know what to say?
Would you know how to protect that person you cared about from developing PTSD?
Would you know what do to protect yourself or those you care about from secondary trauma?
This 2 day crisis certification course was designed by experts after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 by the United States National Guard and the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation as a rapid psychological response to community trauma. Continuing Education Credit is offered from the University of Maryland - Baltimore Campus and an official certificate showing your accomplishment is given for those who complete both days of this intensive crisis recovery training.
TCR prepares you to manage a major crisis and lead a critical incident stress debriefing session, (CISD) while keeping yourself and family safe from the psychological harm.
There are 8 TCR training modules offered over 2 days in this intensive certification class to equip you in dealing with community crisis events. You will learn the early warning signs of PTSD, (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), how to prevent secondary psychological trauma while working as a first responder providing psychological first aid in real life scenarios.
This rapid crisis stabilization process is taught by Dwight Bain, a certified crisis response instructor who worked at Ground Zero in New York City after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and has equipped thousands with psychological survival skills to use until emergency management teams can arrive on the scene. Crisis events will come to Florida - are you going to be prepared to help or will you be a helpless bystander?

"Up to 35% of those exposed to traumatic events such as disasters and terrorism will develop significant posttraumatic psychological distress and perhaps PTSD." -U.S. National Guard
This course is for Pastors, Counselors, Nurses, Teachers, Lay Counselors, Administrators, Law Enforcement, Chaplains and Concerned Citizens interested in becoming a trained crisis responder to manage Community Crisis Events or the aftermath of Terrorist Attacks.
Space is limited.   Register now!
Two-Day Certification
March 12-13, 2015
9:00 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily
(must attend both days for full certification and Credit from ICISF and the University of Maryland/Baltimore Campus)
ICISF Instructor: Dwight Bain
Training Facility Location:
Florida Hospital Eustis,
Waterman Campus, Lake County, FL
Trained Crisis Responder Certification
Registration Form
March  12-13 2015   9:00 am - 5:00 pm daily
ICISF Certified Instructor Dwight Bain
Training facility: Florida Hospital Waterman Campus, Eustis, (Lake County), Florida
PLEASE PRINT your name clearly since it will be used for your Official TCR Certificate
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  ______$89.00 - early bird registration (before March 1st)
 ______ $149.00 - later registration (after March 1st - only if space is still available)
  ______ Group Registration -  4th person FREE with 3 paid registrations, ($149.00 value)
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Payment Options:

Make check or money order payable to:     
The LifeWorks Group
1850 Lee Road, suite 250
Winter Park, FL 32789
You can email this registration form with your credit card information to Sola Thompson at or fax directly to:  407-647-8874
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Refund and cancellation policy: Full refund minus $25 processing fee if notice is given 10 days before workshop.
If later cancellation, fee can be applied to future TCR crisis certifications.