Dr. Elia Gourgouris is a Happiness Expert | Episode 7

Dr. Elia Gourgouris is a Happiness Expert | Episode 7

Are you a happy person? Do you feel like you’ve lost control to your inner critic? How can we be happy during times of crisis?

In this podcast episode, Billy and Brandy Eldridge speak to Dr. Elia Gourgouris about happiness, embracing or changing our brand, and shifting our perspective during the pandemic.

Meet Dr. Elia Gourgouris

Dr. Elia Gourgouris is a Happiness Expert: Episode 7Dr. Gourgouris is a UCLA graduate and holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. He is the President of The Happiness Center and best-Selling author of 7 Paths to Lasting Happiness, Podcast Host of The Kindness and Happiness Connection, and has a new book: 7 Keys to Navigating a Crisis.

His message is featured on major social media outlets across the globe like the HuffPost’s Thrive Global.

Visit his website and connect on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

In This Podcast

Summary

  • How happiness became Dr. Elia’s brand
  • Changing or embracing your brand
  • Dr. Elia’s work with recovery groups
  • Regaining self-worth and our self-esteem when dealing with an inner critic
  • Shift your perspective on where you’re at in the world during this pandemic
  • The seven keys to navigating crisis

How happiness became Dr. Elia’s brand

Our personal brand is one of the core ingredients to our personal happiness and fulfillment.

Dr. Elia says that he was born happy, the nurses at the hospital referred to him as “the happy one “ and it became his brand. Growing up, he was told over and over again that he was born happy, came out of the womb happy, and was just the happy go lucky kid.

Some brands are positive and should be embraced, like smart, cute, happy, loving, creative, athletic, etc, however, a lot of people’s brands are very negative.

Changing or embracing your brand

Dr. Elia has worked primarily with women and, from their feedback, he has his own informal statistics showing the top three common negative brands; the stupid one, the ugly one, and the fat one. At a women’s conference once, while discussing this negative branding, he was confronted by a woman in her 70s who had been branded all three of these over the course of her life. Right there and then she decided to empower herself and see herself differently from then on. So, if a woman in her 70s, after decades of this negative trifecta, can change her brand then why can’t you? If you have a positive brand, embrace it! If you have a negative brand, don’t waste one more day believing what you were told.

Dr. Elia’s work with recovery groups

Dr. Elia’s dissertation was on “Alcoholics Anonymous”. As the meetings were anonymous, it was very difficult to get in and do research. Dr. Elia started attending meetings, even though he wasn’t an addict and fell in love with the 12-step process. As a result of that, when he started his private practice, he did a lot of addiction and recovery treatment.

Gratitude (the second path to happiness) is key to recovery, you cannot be grateful and depressed at the same time, it’s not physically possible. It is easy to be grateful when things are going well but how do you have gratitude when things aren’t working out, like in the midst of a pandemic? How can we be grateful during difficult times? In Dr. Elia’s book he shares the thought that we are graduates from the University of Adversity, and the older we get, the greater the degree. He asks if it is possible to be grateful when things are not going well.

Regaining self-worth and our self-esteem when dealing with an inner critic

Successful people make just as many mistakes as everybody else. There’s a difference, they do three things differently, however. Number one – they own their mistakes. This is on me, Elia, I did it. I can’t blame anybody else, personal responsibility. Number two – they learn from their mistakes. And number three – and this I think, is the most important part is they have the ability to let it go.

  • We have to become self-aware.
  • How often do we have a negative thought about ourselves?
  • Visualize yourself as a judge with a gavel. Every time that negative thought comes out, use that gavel and say “Overruled!”
  • Overrule that negative voice, choose not to believe it.
  • Reframe and see yourself in a different light.

Dr. Elia doesn’t believe that the inner critic will ever go completely silent. We feed it with our mistakes because we are imperfect human beings. We are fallible.

Shift your perspective on where we’re at in the world during this pandemic

Know the difference between danger and fear. Respect the danger, it is the real threat, you need to recognize it in order to protect yourself. Reject the fear, fear is not your friend. In life, we come from two camps – fear camp or faith camp. Dr. Elia chooses the faith camp, every day, consciously. He believes that humanity will overcome this pandemic, we will find a cure.

The seven keys to navigating crisis

  1. Self-care
  2. Self-reflection
  3. Flexibility
  4. Preparation
  5. Initiative
  6. Positive attitude
  7. Kindness

Books by Dr. Elia Gourgouris

Are you ready to find the freedom to be yourself as a beta male? Do you want permission and tools to be your best beta? Are you ready to join the revolution to find strength as a beta? If you want to be comfortable in your skin and be the most authentic beta male, then our free beta revolution course is for you. Sign up for free.

Useful links:

Meet Billy Eldridge

billy-eldridge

Meet Billy, the resident beta male. For Billy, this is a place to hang out with other beta males and the people who love them. We’re redefining what beta males look like in the world. I have learned to embrace my best beta self, and I can help you to do the same. As a therapist, I understand the need to belong. You belong here. Join the REVOLUTION.

 

Meet Brandy Eldridge

brandy-eldridge

Hello, Beta friends. I am an alpha personality who is embracing the beta way of life. I feel alive when connected with people, whether that is listening to their stories or learning about their passions. Forget small talk, let’s go deep together. Come to the table and let’s have some life-changing conversations.

 

Thanks for listening!

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Beta Male Revolution is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you thrive, imperfectly. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom Podcast, Imperfect Thriving, or Empowered and Unapologetic, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.

Podcast Transcription

[BILLY]:
Beta Male Revolution is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a family of podcasts seeking to change the world. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom podcast, Imperfect Thriving, or Empowered and Unapologetic, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.

Welcome to the Beta Male Revolution. This is a podcast for Beta males, the people who love them, and the Alphas that enjoy their company.

[BRANDY]:
Well, welcome to the Beta Male Revolution podcast and we are so excited today because we have Dr. Elia Gourgouris. Dr. Elia is the president of The Happiness Center. He is a number one best-selling author, 7 Paths to Lasting Happiness. He graduated from UCLA which we are not going to hold against him.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. It’s a wonderful school.

[BRANDY]:
He holds a PhD in clinical psychology. He was a private practice, very successful, therapist. His dissertation, which I want to get into just a little bit later, but he also has a podcast coming out and a new book. Dr. Elia, thank you so much for being here.

[DR. ELIA]:
It’s my pleasure. Thank you for having me.

[BRANDY]:
So, Dr. Elia and I, he was so gracious enough, when I am starting the process of my dissertation I reached out to him because he is someone who has helped thousands of people in their marriage, in their jobs, careers, lives, on finding happiness and practicing happiness. So, Dr. Elia, you grew up in Greece, you’re named after your grandfather. I want to know does just happiness run in your family because when we talked, you exude happiness. How does one become a happiness expert?

[DR. ELIA]:
So, the happiness expertise actually started the day I was born. This may sound like a funny story, but I was born a long time ago in Athens, Greece. And as the story was told to me, growing up, my dad shows up at the hospital, you know, this is back in the day where there was nobody allowed in the birthing room, you know, there was no social media, Instagram, Snapchat or anything like that. It was just a doctor and my mom. So, he shows up, kind of a tough Greek guy, you know, whiskey, cigarette, and all that stuff. He comes up to a nurse and behind this little window, there were five babies, myself included, all wrapped up in the same way, generic blanket, and he trusted with the nurses, which one’s my son. And I guess at that moment, I had a big smile on my face. So, the nurse turns to my dad says, your son, he’s the happy one. And instantly I was branded. So, growing up in my home, I was told over and over again, you were born happy, you came out of the womb happy, you’re just a happy-go-lucky kid. So that was the brand and I have… people that have known me over the decades said, yeah, Elia, for the most part, no matter what’s happening in life and through the tragedies and the ups and downs, he sees the light, he sees the positivity, he’s happy and so on.

Well, now, fast forward 25 years, now I’m in graduate school and get this, the professor is teaching us and sharing thoughts about nature versus nurture. In other words, we become who we are, is it our genetic predisposition, or is it our environment? And of course, that’s been debated for, you know, for hundreds of years. And the truth is that there’s a combination of both of them. But you know, I remember in that class I had this terrible thought, I’m like, wait a minute. What if my dad gets stuck in traffic? He shows up 15 minutes late, goes up to the same window, asks the same nurse the same question, which one is my son, and at that point, I’ve got, you know, stomach cramps and I’m screaming my head off and my face is all red. And I’m upset and the nurse turns to my dad and says, your son, he’s the cranky one. I’m branded that way and I grew up and the story is told at home, well, you came out of the womb cranky, you’ve always been a miserable little beep. You know? That’s my brand.

So why do I say this? Because our personal brand is one of the core ingredients to our personal happiness and fulfillment. So, the question to your audience is this – and to you, Brandy, and Billy, is this: what was your brand? We’ve all been branded early on in our lives. There are some brands that are positive, and we should embrace them, like for me that happiness brand; I’ve lived it, I’ve embraced it. But there are other ones. The smart one, the adorable one, the cute one, the loving one, the creative one, the athletic one, the princess. Those are all wonderful brands. And if you have been blessed with a brand like that, wow, are you lucky. However, in working, like you said, Brandy, with thousands of people, I can tell you this: a lot of people’s brands are very, very negative. Some of them are downright horrific, to be honest with you.

[BRANDY]:
So how would one change their brand?

[DR. ELIA]:
Exactly, and I will give you the worst three, the most common. And I work primarily… now I would say probably 70% of my clients have been women. So, this is their feedback to me. So, I have my own informal statistics; the three top negative brands are the stupid one, the ugly one and the fat one. And I think you might think well, who in the world would actually say that to their children, right? It sounds horrific. So, I want to relay a story to you. So, a few years ago, I’m sharing this as I’m doing my keynotes, and I’m at a women’s conference in North Carolina. 500 women and me, and I’m telling the story and I’m empowering the audience. I say, look, if you don’t like your brand, today’s the day to change your brand. If you have a negative brand, change it. And out of the corner of my eye, there’s this old lady in her 70s, who stands up and starts waving her arms, she kind of threw me off. I’m in my zone, right, giving my talk. But it was visible that she wanted some attention. So, I stopped my talk and I turned to her and says, ma’am, go ahead, you know, what can I…? And she goes, you know, if they’re listening to you, I want to change my brand. And I insist, because I grew up for 70 years I have had all three of them. She had the trifecta. I’ve been called stupid, fat, and ugly for 70 years. This is the self-image, basically. And when she shared that I mean, it got so quiet, that you could hear a pin drop. First of all, I was amazed at her vulnerability. I don’t think I would share that in front of 500 people personally, so I was amazed at how open and vulnerable she was. So again, she caught me off guard; I’m like, okay, ma’am, so what would you like your new brand to be? I just tried to follow up, and her name was Leah, by the way. She goes, well from now on, I want to be known as Princess Leah. And I kind of went, yes, your majesty and I bowed to her. And people started to laugh, and it became a very lighthearted moment. But I share the story, why? Because if a woman in her 70s, after seven decades of having this triple negative brand, can change her brand and empower herself to see herself with different glasses, basically, then everybody could do it. So that’s a challenge for your audience. If you like your brand, if it’s a positive brand, embrace it, great. But if you don’t, do not waste one more day of your life believing what you were told.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. Thank you so much, Dr. Elia. I know when I first got to… became aware of your work, Brandy had come in, had this wonderful conversation with you and ordered your book and said we’ve got to get into this and, you know, forgive my initial cynicism about a happiness book because, as a therapist myself in private practice, we read a lot of these things and we get a lot of these things in. And I began to open it and turn through the pages, and it was such a reaffirming, healing balm to my soul because as a therapist and also a person in recovery from alcoholism, and that’s the way I kind of changed my brand. I was Billy the alcoholic for years in a negative way. Now I’m a grateful recovering alcoholic. But so many of the things in your book seem to follow along with the current recovery program that I follow. And it was just reaffirming the gratitude, the humility, the helping other people. There were just so many parts of your chapters in the book that I just gravitated towards. Can you talk a little bit about that? Because I read in your book that you did facilitate recovery groups at one time.

[DR. ELIA]:
Yes, I work with addictions a lot. Brandy, you talked about my dissertation. So, my dissertation basically was on Alcoholics Anonymous. You know, back in the day, when it was extremely difficult to get in there and do research on because it’s anonymous, by the way there. So, I started going to meetings. I wasn’t an addict, but I started going to AA meetings and I fell in love with the 12 Step Process. And so, as a result of that, when I started my private practice, I did a lot of addiction recovery treatment. And I feel like people who recover from whatever substances, alcohol, drugs, pornography, sexual addiction, food, I mean, you name it, are true heroes, because they’re in that battle daily. And I have so much respect. And I have friends, I have family members, people that I love, dear friends who have struggled, who have fallen off the wagon, who have gotten back on again, and some of them who have very long term sobriety. So, gratitude, which is the second path to happiness, is key. There’s no way I can be grateful and be depressed at the same time. There’s no way – it’s not physically possible.

Billy, I will tell you that, you know, it’s easy to be grateful when things are going well. I’m probably the most grateful guy when everything is working out. The tough part is how do you have gratitude when things are not working out? We’re in the midst of a pandemic right now. So, there’s far too many millions of people whose lives have been turned upside down, who are losing family members, without even saying goodbye. Like they can’t even hold their hand. They got to do it virtually, and millions who are sick. And so how can we be grateful during difficult times? In my book, I share the thought that we’re all graduates from the University of Adversity. All of us, right? And the older we get, the greater a degree. You know, when you’re young, maybe you’re in elementary school, but you get a little bit older or you have gray hair like I do, well now I have two PhDs in adversity in life. Because the older we get, it’s inevitable that we’re going to lose loved ones, grandparents, parents, God forbid a spouse or a child or a sibling or best friends. We’re going to get sick, we’re going to have financial disasters, unemployment; right now, you know, tens of millions of people unemployed are under unemployment, financial stress, sickness. So, all that’s part of mortal life, right? We’re here in this to be tested in this. So, the question is, is it possible to be grateful when things are not going well, or when you’re through adversity? What do you think?

[BILLY]:
I believe absolutely, in some of the most adverse times in my life, right in the beginning, it wasn’t easy at all. But if I was going to survive, if I was going to move out of that depressed, dark state of despair, I had to find some form of meaning. It had to be worth something. It couldn’t be for nothing. In my life, so in the various times of loss, I’ve looked for four things I can attach to that make meaning out of it. I haven’t always done it very well, I have experienced those days of dark despair, and sadness and depression. But it always has been, it seems gratitude that’s pulled me out. And you’ve just reaffirmed that. Thank you so much.

[BRANDY]:
So, you have a new book coming out. And I’d like to talk about it because it is so relevant to today. It’s relevant all the time, but specifically today.

[DR. ELIA]:
I do. And honestly, I had an inspiration; I try to be a spiritual person. I believe in listening to that still, small voice whether some people call it the Spirit of God, or intuition, or inner wisdom, whatever that is, I’ve learned over the years to listen to it, to those promptings. In my personal experiences, every time I have listened to it and acted upon it, it’s always worked out, regardless of the circumstances. And that’s an absolute, by the way, it’s not like 90% of time it’s worked out – 100%. But because, you know, I’m an imperfect and fallible human being, the times that I’ve heard the voice, and I’ve ignored it, guess what’s happened? I’ve always paid the price. It’s sometimes been really painful. So, so I got the prompting about a month ago, you need to write a book about the pandemic, and you need to write it down, and it needs to come out, you know, hopefully by May 1, that’s our goal, to get it out. Not in November, not next year; it needs to happen now. So, I’ve been working nonstop, and the title of the book is 7 Keys to Navigating a Crisis, A Practical Guide to Dealing with Pandemics, Natural Disasters, and other Global Disruptions. So basically, any kind of crisis.

[BRANDY]:
And is it almost like a part two? I have to say that you worked with Arianna Huffington about mental health; you’ve got a new book about how to navigate during a pandemic; you have a dissertation on alcoholism, and you’re the happy guy. And so, you deal with a lot of the deep, sad trauma in people’s lives, and yet you go to happiness. And this seems to be a pattern for you, and one of the things I’ve noticed when getting to know you, and I’m so grateful for this, is you have a story which I love about spirituality and the driver’s seat in the car. Would you mind telling that story?

[DR. ELIA]:
Well, I think that comes back to self-love and self-care, and that has to do with what we all have, there are no exceptions to this, the inner critic. And I feel like basically, at the start of our life, whether it’s God or the universe, hands us the keys to our ideal car. For somebody, it could be a Ferrari, could be a sports car, it could be an SUV, could be a bus, it could be a truck, whatever. And basically, the message is, this is yours, drive it well, and be happy. And initially, you know, we’re at the steering wheel, but as we make mistakes, and as the inner critic begins to take hold of us, at some point, he takes over the car, and we move into the passenger seat. And if the negativity and the criticism continue to increase, now we’re in the backseat. And I’ve talked to people, and if it gets really, really bad, then we’re in the trunk. The trunk is closed, and our life is completely out of control. So, when I talk about people, I asked them to assess, “How much of your inner critic is running your life, from 0 to 100%?” I had one guy told me 97%, like he was in the trunk, he was taped up, he was blind folded, his life’s just completely careening out of control. So, the goal, of course, is, if you’re in the trunk, eventually to start regaining control of your life to get in the backseat. If you’re in the backseat, at least you have some view of where you’re going, but you’re still a backseat driver, continue to work on it, and get in the passenger seat. At least, now you’re in the front. And eventually, there’s a fight between you in the passenger seat, and the inner critic, which is holding the steering wheel, and you’ve got to take over. So, the question is, how do we do that? How do we regain our self-worth and our self-esteem when we’re dealing with an inner critic?

So, I asked my clients to visualize. First of all, we have to become self-aware. How often do we have a negative thought about ourselves? How often do we have a negative… that negative voice comes out? Is it once a day? Is it five times an hour? I mean, depends. Or is it once in a blue moon? So, every time you hear that voice, I haven’t visualized that, you know, we’re all judges wearing this dark robe, black robe with a gavel. And every time the inner voice comes in that’s negative, I say, visualize yourself using the gavel and saying, ‘Overruled. Overruled.’ How often do you do it? If you have to do it five times an hour you do it five times an hour; overruled. In other words, I overrule this negative voice. I choose not to believe it. And then you have to reframe that and see yourself in a different light. So, initially, when I meet with somebody, I’m like, so where are you? A lot of people, over 50% guaranteed are in their inner critic; 80%, 90%, 75% – I’m like, try this for the next week. Then come back and tell me, or the next two weeks. And they come back and like, you know what, I feel like I’m at 65% of inner critic. Still in charge, but I’m getting a little stronger. I’m like, that’s right. Keep doing it. Next two weeks. Now it’s 50/50. And then that’s when you know that you’re in the passenger seat and you’re fighting for the critic to regain control of your life. It’s not that the inner critic will ever go completely silent. I don’t believe that, because we feed the inner critic by our mistakes, because we’re imperfect human beings, we’re fallible.

But I want to share something with your audience, which is this: successful people make just as many mistakes as everybody else. There’s a difference, they do three things differently, however. Number one – they own their mistakes. This is on me, Elia, I did it. I can’t blame anybody else, personal responsibility. Number two – they learn from their mistakes. And number three – and this I think, is the most important part is, they have the ability to let it go. In other words, if I made a mistake last year, I’m not carrying this dead weight with me this year, or if I made a mistake last week, I’m not carrying it into this week. I owned it. Yep, I messed up. I learned from it. I forgive myself and I was able to let it go. And I’m moving on, unencumbered by this dead weight. Because that’s what resentments or lack of forgiveness, that for us, it’s like putting on 100 pounds of rocks, basically a backpack every morning before you brush your teeth, and you go about your day. Well, that’s a terrible way to live life.

[BRANDY]:
Yeah, I feel that. Man. That self-forgiveness. That’s a struggle for me. That’s good.

[BILLY]:
That is so good for our audience. Because this whole podcast, the Beta Male Revolution, was kind of born out of authentic people, authentically being themselves and especially for guys who don’t feel quite masculine enough, good enough that they don’t make the team always first round. They’re a little softer, a little more emotional. We wanted to open up a platform for them to have conversations, and for us to have conversations, about what does authentic masculinity look like? Not everybody has to be the guy that runs out and brings home the deer and all of that; there’s other guys who do different things, and what you said about self-esteem there and just accepting yourself and becoming your most authentic self in different words, I think is going to be such a useful tool for the audience that we’re trying to reach. Thank you for sharing that with us.

[BRANDY]:
I think when you and I spoke and I told you that I… and you said very loudly, I think I’m a beta male, because you are in touch with becoming a better human being and you are self-forgiving to yourself. And you talk about those things that I think men have a hard time talking to you. Even when you talk about your lady, Miss Leah. You’re speaking in front of front of 500 women, how do you feel men process these emotions? What is helpful for them to know?

[DR. ELIA]:
First of all, men, we’ve been conditioned not to show vulnerability.

[BILLY]:
Yeah, thank you for saying that.

[DR. ELIA]:
And this is where I love Brene Brown’s whole vulnerability movement because she’s allowed all of us, male and female, to understand that vulnerability, and authenticity, is the key… or I don’t know if it’s THE key, but it’s one of the keys to our own personal happiness. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to be sad. And I grew up, with a tough Greek father who, you know, it wasn’t easy. So, I mean, I was a champion athlete, I was a national champion swimmer in Greece, made the national team I mean, I was like a jock, basically. Right? I was like, sports were really big. But I was very sensitive on the inside. And, you know, when I was 15 years old, I don’t know what happened, but I started to cry to my mom. And as he was walking past me, he made a comment that marked me for the rest of my life. He says, you’re too sensitive. And the message for a teenager, then, you know, I had to stop myself from crying and I realized that being sensitive is not a good thing. I don’t think he… I don’t judge my dad anymore. I mean, he’s passed on. I love my father. He sacrificed a lot to bring us to America and give us a great life and so on. However, that comment really marked me for many, many years. In other words, I had to be tough. And as I’ve gotten older, in work with people, actually, I realized that my toughness is my vulnerability. That’s like, the more sensitive I was, the more that I shed tears, the more open and vulnerable I was with people, first of all, the better psychologist, I was and the better coach. The better friend, husband, father, you know, uncle, friend. And so that’s how I live my life. You like it? You don’t like it? That’s who I am. I’m not gonna not show emotion or not, you know, whether it’s happiness or sadness, and keep it inside because I think when I’ve done that in the past, it’s hurt me. I paid a price for it. And I’m not willing to do that anymore. And I haven’t. I’ve been pretty open for the last 15 years. I think I told you, Brandy. I had a crisis about 15 years ago when I crashed, I hit the wall going 100 miles an hour, and I crashed and burned. And after that, I’m like, okay, this will never happen to me again, I will never suffer from burnout. I wasn’t looking at the signs that were clearly visible, I was ignoring them. I was ignoring the spirit or the still small voice, and I paid a huge price for it. And I almost physically died. So, when that happened, you learn your lesson, or else you’re going to repeat it.

[BRANDY]:
What did you do to change? Because that was such a big part of your story. And what were the steps you took to change?

[BILLY]:
And before… because she was sharing that story with me and it resonates so well with me now, because I’m in my 40s, I have a private practice, I didn’t think anybody would ever come see me. But now people do, and I have a hard time shutting it off at the end of the day, or when to cut off the hours. And I’m burning at both ends. And when she was sharing your story, I said, oh my gosh, I’m where he was. How do I slow this down and make the shift to a more healthy life so I have enough bandwidth at the end of the day for my family? Because I find myself coming home and not being able to be emotionally available because I’ve listened to things all day. But I’m having a hard time down-shifting to a different gear. What are the practical steps people can take to do that?

[DR. ELIA]:
Yeah, and this is where self-care comes in. Because I was like you; I had a thriving practice, I had people on a waiting list, and never marketed once – it was all word of mouth. And I used to work some just incredible hours, morning, noon, and night. Basically, I wouldn’t say no to any new referral. Nobody. And you know, my wife is like, Eli, you’re gonna have a heart attack the way you’re going and I’m like, no, I can handle it. Very arrogant, actually; very prideful. I can handle anything, I’m Doctor Elia, whatever. Well, the truth of the matter is, at some point my body began to break down. And on the outside, you would never know it. But on the inside, it was eating me alive, literally. So, without boring the audience, after spending six long days in the hospital, a couple of surgeries and, you know, some danger… When you’re in the hospital and you’re all alone and you’re all hooked up, and every goes to sleep at night, you know what happens? You start thinking a lot about your life, [unclear] any kids back then. I was in my early 40s. I’m like, I’ve got to do things differently.

So, I asked the surgeon, I said, okay, why did this happen to me? Basically, I never want to go through this experience again. And he goes, that’s easy, either excessive drinking or excessive stress. And I don’t really drink, so I knew it was the stress. But it was stress that it was, I wasn’t aware of it. Like I was ignoring. I didn’t see the signs. The signs were there, loud and clear. I chose to ignore them. I’m responsible for that. And I’m like, okay, you know what? From now on, if I start seeing the signs, before I get to the point of no return, before I get sick, before it gets so stressed that it’s impacting my relationships, I’m going to do self-care. So I practice self-care every week, I don’t want to say every day because that would be an exaggeration, but I try to do it every week, every week, and I’ve been doing that, that’s been 16 years now. And now I’m never going to get burned out. I promise you that; it’ll never happen. I’m busier now than I’ve ever been. I’m doing more things than I’ve ever done. And I’m loving every minute of it. But I have to take care of myself in order to take care of everybody else.

[BRANDY]:
And that’s what you’re doing. You’re taking care of everybody else by being on a podcast and talking about how to take care of yourself.

[BILLY]:
You took care of us today. We needed to hear this. Thank you for sharing it with us.

[BRANDY]:
Thank you for your time. Dr. Elia, you are one of my favorite people. I look up to you and hope one day to be more like you. If anybody else needs any information on Dr. Elia his book, 7 Paths to Lasting Happiness; his new book, 7 Keys to Navigating a Crisis. You can also hear him on his new podcast, The Happiness… The Kindness and Happiness Connection.

[BILLY]:
We look forward to listening to that. Dr. Elia, during this time of fear, anxiety, economic insecurity, and a pandemic, what three takeaways can you give us, some things we can actively begin to do today to help shift our perspective on where we’re at in the world?

[DR. ELIA]:
You know, great question. You know, what I want to share with you, Billy, is this. There’s a difference between danger and fear, dangerous, real, like if somebody coughs in my face, I’m putting my life in danger, my physical health and danger. Fear, however, is not my friend. So, respect danger, reject fear. Because in life, we basically come from two camps, the fear camp or the faith camp, and I choose the faith camp. I try to choose that consciously every day. It doesn’t mean that I don’t go to the fear camp once in a while, but I’m not going to build a condominium and live there. You know what I’m saying? Maybe pop a tent for a couple of hours. I live in the faith camp, which means that things are eventually are going to work out. Humanity is going to overcome this pandemic, we will find a cure, there will be a solution. You know, hopefully by early 2021, we have the cure. In the meantime, I think this summer we’ll have drugs at least that we can take to delay it, or at least not kill us. Because scientists are united throughout this world, and they will come up with the solution, we will overcome this, let there be no doubt.

So, fear is not your friend. Danger, however, is important for us to recognize in order to protect ourselves. It would be foolish for me, you know, not to have social distancing, or you know, not to wash my hands. I mean then I’m doing it to myself. So, self-care… if you want to know the 7 keys, basically, for navigating crisis, it starts again with self-care, very similar with the other book. Self-reflection, listen, be flexible, we can’t go do business as usual, given that we’re living in a different world. We have to be flexible; we have to adapt. Preparation is important, initiative is another one, obviously, having a positive attitude in how we perceive things, because we still have a choice. There’s so many things out of our control, Brandy and Billy, right? The government I mean, we… there’s so many things out of our control, what do we have control over? I want the audience to think about that. What do you control? Well, I control my attitude. That’s the main thing.

And the last key, of course, is kindness. Because if you think your life is tough, I promise you there’s somebody else who has a tougher situation. So, we’re here to practice kindness, to help… People say, well, am I my brother’s keeper? I’m like, no, you’re not just your brother’s keeper, you’re your sister’s keeper, your mother’s keeper, and your brother… And we are here to help one another, and one of the positive things about this pandemic, is how humanity has responded. You know how many acts of kindness are happening on a daily, hourly basis, across the world? People coming together. I think that’s beautiful. And when the pandemic passes, I hope that these acts of kindness continue to happen. And we don’t forget our humanity because ultimately, we’re here in this world to help other people. That’s what brings us ultimate happiness.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. I hope we hang on to it, Dr. Elia. Thank you for bringing a message of hope in the midst of an adverse time. Thank you for spending time with us, and we’re so grateful for you and your presence and your work in the world. I know I’ll be using so many of these nuggets in my own life and in my practice. Thank you for your wisdom and taking us down this path today.

[BRANDY]:
Thank you, Dr. Elia. My heart is smiling right now. It’s just so good to be with you. And I hope to speak with you again and have you back on to share more after your book comes out. And hopefully, the world settles down a little bit.

[DR. ELIA]:
Thank you for your invitation. And thank you for all you do to make this world a better place. Billy, my hat is off to you. Because I know the tough, long road you’ve been in, and you’ve changed the course of your life. To bless your life, Brandy’s, your children’s, and your clients. And I think… I hear the authenticity and the humility in your voice, so I applaud you for that. That comes across to me. And I can read people like an X ray, even over the phone even though… I mean, that’s one of the gifts that God has given me. I can see somebody and read them through in 30 seconds. Rarely is it wrong. And I’m telling you, you have a gift, you both have a gift. So, use those gifts to help other people and continue to do that. But don’t overdo it to the point where you get burned out. Don’t be like me. Before you get burned out like I did.

[BILLY]:
Oh, you’ve got us both in tears, and we’re going to take that all in, thank you. It was good to speak with you today, Doctor.

[BRANDY]:
Thank you, thank you, thank you.

[BILLY]:
Have a blessed day, my friend.

[DR. ELIA]:
I am going to have a blessed day, but there are a lot of people that need us. They need our help. And it’ll be good for us to have another discussion when the book comes out because there are other things that we can do in the midst of crisis.

[BILLY]:
Yeah, let’s circle back around.

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