Because of the anxiety-inducing culture in which many find themselves struggling, local life coach Dave Mochel is taking the stage of The Marjorie Luke Theatre to speak about ways of improving wellbeing by focusing on what’s most important in life. The first speaker in the venue’s first-ever lecture series called “Mind, Body & Soul,” Mr. Mochel will present three lectures, according to a press release: “Practicing a Peaceful & Powerful Life in an Anxious & Divided World” on September 17, “Kindness, Gratitude & Awe: The Neuroscience Behind the Benefits” on October 1, and “Making Every Day Count” on October 15.
In an interview with the News-Press, Mr. Mochel said his talks will relate closely with the mental practice of “applied attention,” which is the name of his personal website. As described on his webpage, applied attention is a mental practice that makes one’s “habit-survival system” and “conscious-choice system” work more harmoniously together. While the former develops automatic behaviors for the purpose of keeping one alive, it can also produce false associations between certain behaviors and survival. Practicing applied attention and cultivating the latter allows one to “install or uninstall automatic behaviors through deliberate practice.”
Mr. Mochel’s first talk will relate heavily to this practice and address the question of “how do we focus on what is under our control?” While the current, divisive political climate and 24-hour news cycle draws many people’s attention to matters outside of themselves, the life coach will kick off his trilogy by sharing ways in which one can stay focused on things that are within their control, such as their values and their own behavior.
In order to cultivate this mindset, Mr. Mochel recommended practical tools, like focusing on standing and breathing properly. A former neuroscience teacher at Cate School in Carpinteria, Mr. Mochel’s work as a coach over the past ten years has revolved around the human nervous system. Because humans are “cognitive, emotional, physical, and social creatures,” the speaker stressed the importance of addressing all of these aspects, as they all impact one another.
‘To really think about wellbeing, we need to think about all of those things,” he said.
He added, “If we can work skillfully with what’s going on inside of us, we can work skillfully with what’s going on outside of us.”
Using the example of kicking and screaming doing nothing to change the fact that one is stuck in traffic, Mr. Mochel said changing such detrimental responses to external inconveniences is more possible than one may think. However, people changing their behavior and shifting focus to matters actually under their control takes practice, as whatever one does repeatedly is what he or she becomes good at.
Quoting the late martial artist and movie star Bruce Lee, he said, “Under duress, we do not rise to our expectations, we fall to our level of training.”
For his second presentation, addressing the neurological impacts of kindness, gratitude, and awe, Mr. Mochel will talk about how these emotional sates neurologically expand one’s perspective. By contrast, emotional states like anger, fear, frustration, and sadness are designed to focus on problems and therefore narrow one’s perception. While humans tend to organize their lives in ways to heighten positive, perspective-expanding emotions, according to Mr. Mochel these emotional states can actually be cultivated on one’s own.
“We don’t need to be in the presence of the ones we love in order to cultivate love,” he said.
When he talks about “Making Every Day Count” during his third and final lecture, Mr. Mochel will discuss how one should handle and accept mortality. Because humans face the challenge of not knowing whether they will die in many years or a matter of minutes, making every day count entails conditioning oneself to live in the present moment, rather than spending unnecessary energy “looking on the horizon for when things will be better.”
Upon exiting The Marjorie Luke Theatre after his lectures, Mr. Mochel hopes his audience will use what he teaches to develop daily practices that enhance their wellbeing. However, as changing behavior is difficult he understands that some people will have to hear what he talks about more than once before changing their lives.
“I know that behavior change is hard, and that people will have to hear this many, many times before they change their behavior,” he said.The “Mind, Body & Soul” lecture series will also feature additional talks in 2019, one by life coach Pamala Oslie on September 24 and another by spiritual counselor Kim Stanwood Terranova on October 8. Tickets for the lectures are $22 and can be purchased on the venue’s website www.luketheatre.org. The Marjorie Luke Theatre is located at 721 E Cota St.