Depression Hack; Learn to Laugh More

Many of you have probably heard about the benefits of laughter as it pertains to mental health. It’s been proven that laughing lifts your mood by releasing feel-good endorphins, relaxing muscles, decreasing stress hormones, etc. The problem is that when you are suffering from depression, there is often not much to laugh about. When you are feeling sad, angry, irritable or just low, you don’t usually find things funny. In fact, humor may tend to annoy you more than it will make you laugh. So how then, do you get the benefits of laughter?

Like all of our depression hacks, you have to make an effort to aid your own healing. If you truly want to help yourself feel better when you are depressed, consciously try to learn how to laugh more, practice and repeat.

The key is to make yourself open to laughter. Sometimes you have to consciously decide to do this. Smiling helps. Thinking about something you have laughed at in the past can help as well. I will never forget the time my English mother was trying to read signs that were mostly in French. She pronounced one “Ayy-oooo-tow Sales.” We all laughed until we cried when we realized the sign said “Auto Sales” in plain English. Thinking of that cracks me up every time. Surely you can recall something that made you laugh and draw on that for help.

Here are a few more tips: Continue reading

Advertisements

Advice: Stepping Back From The Edge of Insanity

Tossing and turning in bed at 3:00AM my thoughts race from one devastating tragedy to another. My father texting from the airplane moments before the crash. My baby being born without sound, no crying, no life. My spouse among the rubble of his office building demolished by a bomb. My sons both lifeless in a mass of crumpled steel after a car accident. My daughter disappearing under the wave, never to surface again. My arms failing to move, my legs stiff with pain, the cancer devouring my body.

 I am healthy. My family is safe and happy. But now, the horrific thoughts crowd my head, causing my heart to race and my lungs to gasp for air. Hot tears flow down my cheeks. I am crying about tragedies that have never occurred . . . but they could. I worry that they could.

 During the day I am fine, busy at work. My mind is occupied, focused on real-life tasks. I come home and find a moment of solitude, but then my idle mind starts to spin. The horrors return. I distract myself with the television and the horrors momentarily fade.

 Anticipating the terrifying thoughts at bedtime, I self-medicate with alcohol or sleeping pills to get me through the night. It never works. I am up again at 3:00 AM, imagining all of the things that I know could happen. I worry that they will.

 Sometimes I don’t know how I can go on. The risks are endless. The millions, no billions of ways that my life could end, that my loved ones could suffer and die. Nothing is safe. Nowhere is secure.

I shake my head back and forth. No, no, no! I feel as if I am just going to completely lose it. I am on the edge of insanity.

Your fears are real. Your anxieties are tangible. You are not alone. Any reasonable mind would agree that there are plenty of things to be anxious about in this world. In that way, we are all living on the edge of insanity. In fact, some of the most intelligent minds have fallen off of that edge. It’s very easy to succumb to our fears and “completely lose it.” You, however, will not do so . . . Continue reading

Advice: A Little Understanding Goes A Long Way

Many of our posts encourage kindness, goodness and self-control, even in negative situations. This is often hard to achieve; however, it is entirely possible due to the following psychological principle:

  1. Our thoughts affect our feelings
  2. We control our thoughts
  3. Therefore, we can control our feelings/reactions

In other words, we are responsible for our own actions. No one “makes” us react a certain way. We make a decision on our own and choose how to feel about and respond to every situation. We are in control.

It takes practice, but once you master this form of control we encourage you to incorporate understanding into your decision-making process. By understanding we mean, putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and giving them the benefit of the doubt. In negative situations, try to first assume that someone’s intentions are honest. Presume innocence and maintain a favorable or at least neutral opinion in uncertain situations. Here are a few common, real-life examples to consider. Continue reading

Depression Hack; Ignorance is Bliss

Sometimes sage advice from the past rings true in the future. Never has that been more true than with the old adage: Ignorance is bliss. 

In today’s world of unlimited connection, we know everything about everyone, everywhere, instantly.

What if we didn’t?

What if we unplugged and only “knew” about what we cared to know about?

The answer is simple.

Life would be a lot more blissful.

We are not saying that you should be ignorant of every negative thing in the world. That would be irresponsible. What we are focusing on is ignorance as it pertains to our personal lives . . . who and what you choose to be a part of your world and what constitutes your reality. You do have control over this. Continue reading

Advice: How Do We Prevent Another School Shooting?

We wish we had the answer to this question.  We need the best and brightest minds to focus on preventing another school shooting. We need to fix it now . . . not tomorrow, not next school year, and certainly not after it happens again.

Every article out there suggests a different approach, such as securing schools like airports, giving teachers and staff defense weapons, strengthening gun laws, lessening violence in the media/video games, enforcing zero tolerance for threats, etc. The problem is that not one of these solutions is immediate. Tomorrow we will send our children off to school with the real risk of them being shot and killed. That is not a risk parents should be willing to take. We need to take immediate action. Continue reading

Depression Hack; Mind Your Expectations

Everyone has expectations in life, whether it be what they expect from others or what they expect out of themselves. Expectations about others are generally bad to have because we cannot control others, and those expectations may never be met. Expectations about ourselves, however, are generally good, because they can keep us motivated, on the right track and accountable for our actions. Nevertheless, you need to be mindful of your personal expectations, and realize that meeting them is not always what is best for you. Personal expectations can push us forward as well as hold us back.

Take this real-life case for example. Beth had reasonable expectations for herself. She wanted to be a good person, get a college degree, land a great job and eventually get married and start a family. She met all of her expectations over the course of her life until her husband of 20 years divorced her for a younger woman and moved to Spain. Continue reading

Venting on Modern Media

Seriously?

I am going to sound like my Grandfather when I vent about this, but I have to ask . . . Is nothing sacred anymore? When did all of the limits to good taste vanish?

Flipping through the major television network channels at prime time (8:00PM), I came across a sitcom depicting a teenage girl masturbating from start to finish in a high school bathroom stall. On another network, a group of pre-teens were depicted in vivid detail beating another child to death. How has it become acceptable to call such things entertainment? 

It is appalling how modern media (television, movies, etc.) has taken such a downward spiral into depravity.  Not only does is denigrate us as a society, but it also insults our intelligence.

I realize this a matter of opinion, and I am all for free speech, no censorship, etc. I also understand that if I don’t like it, I don’t have to watch it. What bothers me, however, is the amount of people who are watching it, accepting it as the norm, and often imitating it.

Forgive me if I sound like a snob as well as an old-timer, but frankly, I don’t care. There are some of us who still hold onto some remnant of class and self-respect, even though it’s not depicted on prime-time television.