Posts by Benjamin Fishel

Ben Fishel is a counsellor and psychotherapist. He has a background in neuroscience, counselling and existential psychotherapy and is on a mission to help people improve their mental health with cognitive science and spirituality. Ben offers a telehealth counseling service worldwide (with the exception of Canada & the U.S.). Don’t forget to follow him on Facebook for more of his essays!

Benjamin Fishel's Website

30 Simple Mindfulness Practices to Help You Focus and Be Present

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” ~Thích Nhất Hạnh, Peace is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

Do you ever feel like you’re too busy for meditation?

You understand the benefits, and you’d really like to commit to it. But you’re a busy person. You have deadlines to meet, food to prepare, bills to pay, kids to raise, family members to call—and even that’s barely scratching the surface.

We’ve all been there. I certainly have.

Before I found mindfulness, I struggled with concentration for …

19 Techniques to Calm a Highly Sensitive Nervous System

“You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.” ~Timber Hawkeye

The sun is setting, the cold wind is gently blowing in my face. I’m sitting on a rock that’s about ten feet tall, overlooking the Peruvian city of Cuzco. I can hear dogs barking, groups of teenagers laughing, the low hum of traffic and the music blaring from cars in the distance. As it goes dark, the lights of thousands of houses begin to flicker on like fireflies.

I should be enjoying this picturesque scene, but I’m not. My …

If You Think Contentment Will Make You Lazy and Unproductive

“To be content doesn’t mean you don’t desire more, it means you’re thankful for what you have and patient for what’s to come.” ~Tony Gaskins

There’s a thought I want to share with you that used to keep me up at night.

It’s a toxic idea that caused me stress and burnout and actually got in the way of my productivity and creativity (and more importantly, my happiness).

Nevertheless, I hung onto it, and eventually came to see that it wasn’t just me. It was actually prevalent in many developed societies.

The thought went something like this: If I accept

5 Affirmations for Resilience in the Face of Uncertainty

EDITOR’S NOTE: You can find a number of helpful coronavirus resources and all related Tiny Buddha articles here.

“Embrace uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later.” ~Bob Goff

Let me tell you something important. It’s a rule of life, a law of nature if you will. This law is not only a psychological truth, but it’s also biological, chemical, cultural, maybe even metaphysical.

What I’m about to say is not comfortable, but it’s necessary. People who truly understand this principle are resilient and adaptive. Those of us who choose …

How Empaths Can Stop Sacrificing Their Needs for Other People

“Sometimes you don’t realize you’re actually drowning when you’re trying to be everyone else’s anchor.” ~Unknown

Have you ever felt trapped?

No, actually, have you ever felt absolutely paralyzed? Like you’re fearful of making any choices at all? It feels like any step you take could end in utter catastrophe.

Five years ago, that was me.

I was living in a small, run-down house in Peru, in a city that I didn’t want to be in, far away from family and friends, and I was in a relationship that wasn’t working.

At the time I worried that any decision I …

How to Keep Going When Doubts and Fears are Holding You Back

“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” ~Vincent Van Gogh

I don’t think there is anything more liberating.

At least nothing I’ve experienced at this point in my life.

I’m sure it’s happened to some of you. Probably more times than you can count.

The freedom I’m alluding to here is the moment when you do something that a part of your mind didn’t believe was possible.

Interestingly, the word ecstasy comes from the Greek ekastis, meaning “to step outside of oneself.”

And when …

5 Psychological Strategies to Ease the Stress of Perfectionism

“Striving for excellence motivates you, striving for perfection is demoralizing.” ~Harriet Braiker

The last three months I’ve been trying an experiment. It’s something that I’ve never done before, and in a certain way, it’s been a huge challenge. However, in other ways, it’s been an enormous stress relief, and I would say a largely successful effort.

What I’ve done seems to go against conventional wisdom, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a wise choice.

So what exactly is this challenge? Well, I have actively gone out of my way to be average.

Yep, sounds a little weird, doesn’t it? …

How to Be Less Anxious About Things You Can’t Change

“One of the happiest moments is when you find the courage to let go of what you can’t change.” ~Unknown

Over the last few years, I’ve had to deal with a frustrating problem.

It’s something that’s not uncommon, but it can be debilitating, and it has affected me every day. Some days have been incredibly tough, and they’ve tested my tolerance and my patience.

The problem is chronic back pain.

Every day I get up, knowing that throughout the day I’m going to have a discomfort that could oscillate between a mild annoyance and an intense burning. At some point, …

What It Means to Live Life with Open Palms and How This Sets Us Free

“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything—anger, anxiety, or possessions—we cannot be free.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Roughly one year ago, I was having the time of my life.

Everything seemed to be going well. My stress levels were at an all-time low. I was enjoying myself in a new city. Work was engaging. My meditations were deep and fulfilling.

And when I looked back on things one year later, I was kind of, well, frustrated.

Because things haven’t been going that smoothly lately. Don’t get …

How to Accept Anxious Feelings So You Can Let Them Pass

“Don’t try and save yourself. The self that is trying to be saved is not you.” ~Mooji

Three months ago I had a strange experience.

It wasn’t strange in that it had never happened before. It was strange in that it was unexpected. Unexpected in the way a hiccup comes up out of nowhere to interrupt a meal. No, actually, it was more unexpected in the way a sudden illness overtakes a period of health.

Just for a bit of context, over the last six months, I’ve generally been the calmest I’ve felt in years—maybe even my whole life. But …

5 Ways to Calm Your Mind When You’re Exhausted (Without Meditation)

“Calm your mind. Life becomes much easier when you keep your mind at peace.” ~Unknown

Let me start with a confession.

If I’m honest with you, even just writing these words actually makes me feel kind of uncomfortable.

But I’m going to say it because it’s true, and some of you reading this are going to realize that on some level you probably share the same feeling.

I hate meditation.

Now, let me do the obligatory defend-the-shocking-thing-I-just-said.

I mean, to be more specific, some days I hate meditation.

Most of the time, I love it. I really love it. …

9 Beliefs You Have to Let Go If You Want to Find Inner Peace

“Enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the facade of pretense. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.” ~Adyashanti

I don’t know exactly when it happened.

It was probably about eighteen months ago, maybe a couple of years. I can’t really remember, and it doesn’t really matter.

I was up to my neck in stress, and having one of those days.

It was one of those days where you wake up late and your neck is a …

How to Get Out of a Mental Rut by Trying Something New

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” – Brian Tracy

Have you ever come to a crossroad in your life?

You know something needs to change, but you have more than one option—and it feels like there’s a lot of pressure on you to make the right choice.

That was me a few months ago.

I was stressed, overworked, and in what you would probably call a rut. Fatigued and struggling to get things done, I initially thought that all I needed …

5 Beliefs About Anxiety That Can Make You Even More Anxious

“It’s okay to not be okay all the time.” ~Unknown

I never thought of myself as an anxious person.

But here I was again, staring at a computer screen in my office, so stressed I could barely type. I’d been throwing myself into work and I had crashed—hard.

And this wasn’t the first time.

Unfortunately, our mental image of who we think we are and who we actually are don’t always match up. But part of being human is that we learn to live with that, we embrace the struggle, and we grow.

Over the last five years I’ve had …

Stop Chasing Happiness: 17 Alternative Ways to Live Your Best Possible Life

“If only we’d stop trying to be happy we’d have a pretty good time.” ~Edith Wharton

I have a question for you.

What would you be willing to sacrifice to be happy?

Would you be happy to let go of Netflix? Alcohol? Pizza?

Would you be willing to take up a monastic life?

Every single day of the year we’re being sold happiness. It doesn’t matter whether it’s in the form of a pill or a book or a holiday, the underlying idea is the same: What we have to sell you will make you happy.

The problem with

How to Turn Your Sensitivity into Your Biggest Strength

“Never apologize for being sensitive or emotional. Let this be a sign that you’ve got a big heart and aren’t afraid to let others see it. Showing your emotions is a sign of strength.” ~Brigitte Nicole

We have a problem in the modern world that needs to be addressed.

It impacts huge numbers of the population but is so ingrained in our culture that it’s easy for us to overlook how dangerous it can be.

This problem is the denial of sensitivity.

We often associate sensitivity with weakness, but when we learn how to manage our energy and emotions …

How Short Rests Can Make You Healthier, Happier, and More Productive

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” ~John Lubbock

Do you ever fear taking breaks?

Maybe you think that if you stop working, everything is going to come crashing down?

Sometimes it feels like you’re riding a train of momentum, and if you try to stop or slow down you’re just going to come off the tracks.

I know the feeling. Believe me, I used to feel …