“Live in the present.” With Beau Henderson & Dr. Logan Jones

Have faith we’ll get through this, and that this will possibly change the world for the better. To be clear, it’s not about being in denial about the current situation. However, we must hold onto the idea that there is a blue sky behind this temporary dark cloud. As a part of my series about […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

Have faith we’ll get through this, and that this will possibly change the world for the better. To be clear, it’s not about being in denial about the current situation. However, we must hold onto the idea that there is a blue sky behind this temporary dark cloud.

As a part of my series about “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Logan Jones.

Dr. Logan Jones is a Manhattan-based Psychologist, Performance Coach, and the Founder & Director of the psychotherapy practices NYC THERAPY + WELLNESS and Clarity Therapy Online. He has spent thousands of hours working directly with entrepreneurs, creatives, and achievement-oriented individuals in NYC by helping them gain clarity and become the authority in their lives.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

Like many therapists, I always wanted to be in a profession where I could say I’m a helping person. However, I discovered that it wasn’t just a desire to be a helper that brought me here. Growing up as a parentified child, I was good at taking care of people who needed help. Many therapists, including myself, identify with the idea of Alice Miller’s The Gifted Child, which talks about children neglecting their own identities and needs in order to take care of their caretakers.

There’s an unconscious wish to heal our loved ones who are suffering. I thought, if I can become a therapist, then I’ll have a sort of healing ability or power. Additionally, if I could be a therapeutic presence and give other people what they need, then they’ll be able to give me what I need, too.

I also liked the idea of being intimately connected with people and having this exclusive “all-access pass,” if you will, to the human condition. It’s gratifying to have your own humanity mirrored back to you.

The more life-affirming thing I’ve discovered: My work has allowed me to constantly grow and develop. Continuing to learn and feel challenged, especially to be open and vulnerable — it’s all about making authentic human connections. After going through my own grieving process for myself and the moments of lost time and opportunities, confronting my own life experience and early memories, I hope I can help other people to do the same.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

An event that’s burned into my memory was a frightening inflection point in my personal and professional life, when I almost lost my career entirely.

I’m dyslexic, and as a result I really struggled to finish my dissertation. This delay almost caused me to be expelled from my graduate program. At the time, I couldn’t believe what was happening. I had put in so much blood, sweat, and tears into this work. By this point, I was already out in the workforce, so I experienced a great deal of shame and regret that I hadn’t finished my dissertation first.

During that time, I was in an almost addictive pattern of avoidance and procrastination. It got to the point where I just couldn’t hide it anymore. Deadlines kept coming and going and empathy from my program directors was running thin. I was on the verge of becoming one of these ABD (All But Dissertation) tragedies where people spend years of their lives in a doctorate program and never actually cross the finish line!

It involved this whole coming out process where I had to admit to my loved ones, professors, and colleagues that I needed help. Ultimately I made it through, but I’ve had to work hard to let go of the anger and resentment from this experience.

The work I do today allows me to try to relinquish and dissolve negative feelings associated with a “victim” mentality. I’ve had to come to peace with the experience that some of my mentors and the program failed me in certain respects, while also acknowledging and taking ownership of how I may have failed them, too. That experience is like a scar that will always be there and that I have to continue to work on healing.

What advice would you give to other leaders about how to avoid burnout?

Most people don’t recognize burnout within themselves, or they have difficulty articulating it. It’s ironic that such a blind spot exists within a profession that emphasizes self-reflection and care. From a young age, society teaches us that we should be superhuman all the time, and if you aren’t, you’re somehow failing. That’s a myth we have to reconstruct.

It sounds cliché, but I adopt the same message they say on an airplane, “Put your own mask on first before helping the person next to you.” After all, what good are you to the world if you’re dead weight? You lose your purpose and ability to be of greater service to the world. From this point of view, burning out could be a self-defeating act of aggression toward self and others.

A lot of people have the misconception that self-care is selfish, when in fact it’s critical to your mental and physical health. You have to make yourself and your own wellbeing your priority. You must see yourself and your work as the source through which all things flow. The idea is that if you treat yourself like an object, then you’re not treating yourself with compassion or humanity and are inviting other people to do the same.

Make your life force your priority. This is the only way you can be of service to others in a meaningful and sustainable way. Put your own words to power and live affirmatively within your own practice. Some of the most reinvigorating times in my life were when I realized this. I experienced a shift in my spirit and a positive, joyful, life-affirming energy followed.

When I’m taking care of myself, I’m making sure I’m staying connected to my own humanity. See yourself as the source of your work and make yourself a priority so that you can be of service to the world. That is my wish for my associates, colleagues, and anyone I work with.

What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?

One thing I’ve discovered is that whatever I wish for myself, I want for the people I work with. I wish to have expansive and meaningful experience with my work. I want to be connected to something deeper and for it to feel fundamentally important to me. I want to be intentional in communicating generosity and how to be forward-thinking to those around me. So my wish for my associates and people I employ is to also feel like they are growing and expanding with me.

I do my best to model and embody these qualities as a leader. I do this not to project myself or expect people to be clones of me — I expect people to be discerning and find what resonates with them — but I want to model that you have to be well-connected to your joy and what you find life-affirming. It’s always best to be generous. Take care of yourself and your employees, but you don’t have to make such a strong distinction at the expense of one or the other. My approach is that we’re in this together, and we need to be communicating efficiently for this to be successful.

The idea is that the more you can contribute, the more opportunities you create for success. I create payment structures that provide different possibilities for generating revenue beyond what a conventional job or salary could offer. We’re flexible and invested because we want everyone to see the big picture. There are limits in life, of course, but why be limited here? We start with that vision in mind and then find a way to make it come to life.

I also think a leader needs to radically reflect and be honest with themselves and the people around them. I’ve met with people who start off in a role thinking it’s exactly what they want and then realizes it’s not for them, and that’s okay. I want to look at an individual’s strengths and interests and find where they can thrive. The idea is to give yourself permission to think this way and to be authentic and flexible. By modeling this mindset and behavior, you give other people permission to do the same.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

I wish I could blend these three books together because they each offer something special that’s complementary to the others. The first influential book is The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. It was a book I read on the beach while going through a difficult period with my family. It’s a book about letting yourself exist in the present, and it really spoke to me. It had this very grounded, clearly articulated idea about the importance of enjoying soulful living.

That was really impactful to me because after I read it on the beach, I remember maybe a three-hour period where I felt as if I was floating (it was a fleeting moment in the grand scheme of things). I remember my brother remarked on my mood, saying, “You seem different. I’ve never seen you so happy and calm.”

It was true, I’ve never been that kind of relaxed in my life. It was like someone finally gave me permission to just live in the present and I experienced how life-giving that simplicity can be. It was one of my first true psycho-spiritual experiences about living life in the now.

The second is Nancy McWilliams’ book Psychoanalytic Diagnosis. She’s such a beautiful writer. It’s all about psychological theory, psychoanalytic and psychodynamic theory. She spoke in a very grounded, humanistic way that didn’t pathologize. It was more like, we diagnose because we have to, unfortunately. We look at the entire character structure with the clients’ issues. She explained how to make better diagnoses and what happens when not all the criteria are met. Her work is an applicable and humanizing connective tissue of theory.

Lastly, on the more psycho-spiritual level is Marianne Williamson’s Return to Love. Its premise is basically that the only time that’s real is now, and the only force that’s impactful in a meaningful way is love. Everything else, all that is not love, is an illusion and mostly based in fear. The idea is that we are born perfectly, and then the world has a way of traumatizing each of us. It’s our job as adults to reclaim who we were and connect to a primal belief that people are lovable. We need to abandon the notion that we’re fundamentally flawed and that we need to be in competition or in conflict. Ultimately, we’re meant for something greater than ourselves — connection.

Those books were profound markers in my life. As I combined years of theory with these more grounding, fundamental human truths, I experienced a lot of personal and professional growth. My wish is that each of those guiding principles I adopted shines through in my work.

Ok. Here is the main question of our discussion. The past 5 years have been filled with upheaval and political uncertainty. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have only heightened a sense of uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and loneliness. From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to develop mindfulness and serenity during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each.

Many people who may have never felt a need for mental health services are now struggling with increased anxiety, depression, and isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic. Here are five methods I work on with my clients to help develop serenity during uncertain times.

1. Stop time traveling and live in the present.
People are going stir crazy because they don’t know when this will end. During periods of intense anxiety, it’s common to get caught in this trap of looking back and thinking, “What should I have done to prepare for this?” or “Did I do something that I shouldn’t have?” This rumaniative pattern of thinking or “time traveling” is dangerous because it’s potentially endless, and the moment in question has passed. Looking into the future can be equally unhelpful because we can’t predict when this will end. We’re uneasy because we’ve lost our sense of what life is like outside of this experience of confinement.

Serenity Tip: Avoid time traveling and commit yourself to living in the present moment. Come to peace with your decisions. Living meaningfully, even in small ways in our present reality, will help us to set a better future. Focus your energy on what nourishes you today, and look outside yourself to see how you can help bring comfort to others.

2. Confront reality to spark a change.
This pandemic has held up a magnifying glass to the shortcomings in our policies and systems. After all, a capitalist society can only survive if there’s a safety net in place for its people during a crisis. For example, from the Great Depression emerged the New Deal, which provided much-needed relief and reform. Our current systemic issues are amplified during a crisis, when the system starts to break down. We often witness this juxtaposition, in which the needs of essential public services such as healthcare and education are placed on the back burner while banks and large corporations are first in line for funding.

Serenity Tip: It’s time to spark change in these dysfunctional systems that are leaving too many people out. Identify the changes you want to see in the world and dedicate yourself to the cause. Part of not feeling helpless or victim to circumstance is to take an active role in making meaning. What does your cause mean to you and those close to you?

3. Use periods of quiet to reset yourself.
Mother Nature is being given a chance to catch her breath while our day-to-day is on pause. We’ve seen wildlife take back ecosystems and a dramatic dip in pollution in metropolitan areas. My wish is that all of us can do the same and use this stillness to reset ourselves.

Serenity Tip: Ask yourself, “What do I need right now to feel okay?” It’s vital to give yourself permission to take a breath and be reflective about your needs during these moments of solitude. Focus inward and use this time to deal with uncertainty in a productive way, one that’s regenerative instead of crippling. Remind yourself that this isn’t a paid vacation, it’s a pandemic. Go easy on yourself if you find that you just need to lay around in your pajamas all day.

4. See the interconnectedness of everything.

I often wonder what might happen if our country became a more interdependent, cooperative partner in global relations. A partner who wasn’t so fearful and victimized thinking that we’re better (or that we weren’t great in the first place). This overly nationalistic mindset has led to some of these problems because it perpetuates an us vs them mentality and comes from a place of fear. The response from the global community is inspiring and directly goes against this xenophobic, individualistic mindset. Being connected and helping others is what makes us human, and we’re seeing that in a whole new way.

Serenity Tip: It’s incredible to witness what happens when generous people come together to pool resources, ideas, and intellect. This mindset can only get us to a better place and can be applied in small yet significant ways. Ask yourself how you can contribute to the greater good and make a positive impact in someone else’s life. This can be as simple as offering to do your elderly neighbor’s grocery shopping so they don’t have to put themselves at risk.

5. Seek to evolve by denying the status quo.

Resist returning to the status quo once this is over. It’s tempting to do, but historical amnesia rarely serves societies. Instead, allow yourself to evolve with increased consciousness from this situation. This is a difficult period, but ultimately, humanity is resilient. There’s already been such a huge response throughout the world in which communities, people, and companies join forces in a collective effort to overcome this situation. We must not forget that we’re all in this together, especially one day in the future when we find ourselves safely on the other side.

Serenity Tip: Ask yourself what changes you’ll make once this is over. For some, it may be a heightened awareness of our humanity and connectedness to others, which translates into a kind of softening or kindness in communication style. Perhaps it could mean not engaging in self-serving behaviors such as unnecessarily hoarding resources, and instead just taking what you need. Whatever the lesson is for you, make sure it’s meaningful and wait for the benefits that follow.

From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

The best way to offer support is often simply through demonstrating centered behavior. To demonstrate is to teach, and we communicate to others with the energy we put out into the world. Are we demonstrating energy that’s powerful and positive, negative, or simply ineffective?

Below are five behaviors we can demonstrate to others who are feeling anxious:

1. Find stillness, despite the chaos around us.

Harnessing an inner stillness and calm during an otherwise period of high anxiety and uncertainty can encourage others to do the same.

2. Reaffirm hope.

Have faith we’ll get through this, and that this will possibly change the world for the better. To be clear, it’s not about being in denial about the current situation. However, we must hold onto the idea that there is a blue sky behind this temporary dark cloud.

3. Be vulnerable and honest about how you’re feeling.

Simply flinging your despair at those around you is self-serving behavior that negatively impacts others. But it’s also important to be able to talk about what you’re feeling and going through. By being open and vulnerable with others, you’re saying, “Look, we’re all in this together. I understand this isn’t easy for you. I’m struggling, too, and this is how I’ve been handling it.” It’s acknowledging that we’re all human, and maybe we’re not doing this perfectly, but we’re doing our best. It can be tough to be vulnerable, but it’s better than hiding or collapsing into ourselves. This also gives others permission to speak openly about how they’re doing.

4. Be socially responsible, even if it’s inconvenient.

We’re all connected, and we each have a part to play. Staying at home 24/7 may not be what you’d like to be doing, yet here we are, for better or worse. Being together but apart in this shared inconvenience shows that we can band together to make a temporary sacrifice for the greater good. We’ve all seen the meme about our grandparents being called to war, so let’s answer the call to stay on the couch.

5. Engage in small yet significant acts of kindness.

Identify some small gesture you can make to impact somebody’s day positively. That could mean donating or sharing your energy, ideas, money, or resources. Our communication style with others is less formal right now. You may not have previously asked a coworker, “How are you? How’s your family?” or “How are you holding up?” These small gestures — compassion, encouragement, reassurance — are a different form of currency but just as meaningful.

Each of these ideas is free and can be put into practice now.

What are the best resources you would suggest for someone to learn how to be more mindful and serene in their everyday life?

You are your best resource, and ultimately, you are the source of all your life energy. During trying times, it’s okay to use dynamic tools that are available, in addition to ourselves. Here are a few things I’ve done:

Listening to guided meditations, audiobooks, and programs. They help me focus my attention and maintain my sense of clarity and groundedness. We’re always learning, whether passively or actively, and I prefer a receptive type of learning by listening to audiobooks and audio programs related to my field. It balances my emotional and mental health, and I enjoy putting the therapeutic principles I learn into my practice. For an hour each day, I’ll usually listen while I’m getting ready, working out, or if I just need a moment to feel more focused. It’s important to tap into similar resources that might be of interest to you.

Find some podcasts or audiobooks that resonate with you and let the ideas soak into your consciousness. I find that the more I rehearse these principles, the more true they become for me and I eventually embody them. Try a free app such as Insight Timer: It’s simple, highly effective, and highly rewarding, and it makes me feel more self-assured and empowered to act. It all comes back to this simple concept thatyou are truly your own best resource.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

I have a series of personal mantras I’ve used at various times in my life when I’m struggling. Each of these statements is grounding and serves me during times when I’m feeling lost or overwhelmed. They’re psycho-spiritual lessons I’ve absorbed that have evolved over the years. Some of my favorites are one-word statements like “RELEASE.” Whenever I say this to myself, I have permission to release whatever tension I’m holding, whatever negativity, anger, resentment, bitterness, or sadness.

A second one is “NOW.” It’s a very simple yet powerful reminder that right now is the only moment that truly matters. Right now is also the chance to start over. Take a breath, now. Forgive yourself, now. Avoid the trap of looking into the future, longing for your life to begin or romanticizing the past by believing, “My life was so much better back then.” Focus on right now, and honor this time you have.

“Everything I need is already inside of me or exists within me.” I love this message. It reinforces our self-efficacy, the feeling that “I can do this.” It’s a reminder that you don’t need to look to someone else for the answers. Hone in on your strengths and inner resilience and you’ll see that everything you need is already within. To remind ourselves that we have what no need no matter the circumstance, we can think back to times in our lives when we successfully overcame difficult experiences.

The other one is “Life flows into me, life flows through me, and life flows out of me and into the world.” I go here when I find myself thinking, “Why is this happening to me? Why is life so hard?” It’s a way to reframe self-defeating thoughts into a bigger picture, which helps to get me out of my negative headspace. It’s important to remember that the thoughts you entertain within yourself have a profound influence on your psyche and emotional wellbeing.

You’re welcome to use these mantras or find a set of your own that speak to you in a meaningful way. Start by picking a word or affirmation you can proclaim as your own and reaffirm within yourself. I always tell my clients to pick something that feels most natural to them. Many times, they look to me as an expert, but I remind them that they have their own unique voice and innate wisdom. In order for the mantras to be impactful, you must take part in creating your own special recipe. Use whatever combination of words feels right to you and claim it as your motto. Rehearse it in your mind and aloud on a regular basis and allow it to evolve depending on the circumstance.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

My movement would be one of radical forgiveness. Radical forgiveness is the idea that we no longer wait to forgive ourselves or others, and we do so fully, without strings attached. We practice being compassionate and gentle, we set aside grievances and dissolve any negative energy that exists in our lives.

The thing about radical forgiveness is that the person we’re forgiving doesn’t need to know about it for us to finally feel better. I’d like to give people permission to let go of the baggage that’s weighing them down. Restart your life in this moment by forgiving who you need to. If we could all be given a new chance to have a life that’s unlike the past and to truly be in this moment, we can create a much more beautiful future. It all comes back to the importance of living in the now, because this is the one moment we have.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

I’m getting back to writing on my Instagram @drloganjones and sharing random musings on Twitter @drloganjones. I also write on my blog and, after two years of self-defeating procrastination, I recently launched a free email course, 30 Days of Gratitude, and a newsletter, which you can opt-in to at www.drloganjones.com.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Total Shape/ Unsplash

Meet Healthcare Expert Dr. Leanh Nguyen On Unique Practices to Better Mental Health

by Jamie Brown

Women In Wellness:” It’s tough to look after your own health when you focus on other’s ” with Tamara Jones and Dr. William Seeds

by Dr. William Seeds

5 Ways to Build Confidence with Passion

by Dr. Sharon Jones
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.