Category Archives: Advice

You are in Control of You

I’ve kept this quote hanging on a bulletin board in my home for more than 15 years. It is a timeless truth. Read it and live it. 

“Attitude is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.
It will make or break a company, a church, a home.
The remarkable thing is, we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.
We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.” 
Charles Swindoll (Strengthening Your Grip; Words/Insight for Living)

Advice: Why Do I Feel This Way?

“There is nothing wrong with me. I am healthy, pretty, smart and fun to be around. I don’t have cancer or any kind of deformity. I don’t even have acne. I have a great family who loves me and lots and lots of good friends. I’d even say I am popular at my school. I play softball and I’m really good at it; probably the best pitcher in the district. I have never suffered from any kind of tragedy and have no deep dark secrets. Why then, do I feel depressed?

It’s not like it happens when I am sad or mad or anything. It happens out of the blue. It hits me mostly when I am alone. I don’t even mind being alone, so I don’t know why it comes. I will be feeling fine and then it’s like a fog washes over me. I seem to get lost or stuck in the fog. Bad thoughts come to my mind. I get down on myself for no real reason. I feel like I am not good enough. I don’t like myself. I feel like no one else likes me either. Actually, I hate myself. I get upset. Sometimes I have trouble breathing because it is like the fog gets in my lungs. I get close to panicking. I feel like I am going to totally lose it. If anyone calls, texts or bothers me when I feel this way I ignore them or snap at them. I can be mean. I know I scared my little brother a couple of times screaming at him to leave me alone.

I want to know why this happens to me. Why do I feel this way? I could understand if someone like my friend Cameron felt this way. She has lots of reasons to be depressed. Her parents got divorced. She broke her arm and will never play softball again. She put on 30 pounds. She should be depressed, not me. Or what about Chloe? She lost her sister in a car wreck. She has problems. She should be depressed, not someone like me.

I want to know why it happens and how to stop it. I can’t talk about it to anyone, because they will just say the same thing I am thinking. There is no reason for me to be depressed. It doesn’t make sense. I hide it from my family, because I don’t want them to think I am crazy. I must be crazy, because there is really NO REASON for me to be so depressed.

This has been happening for as long as I can remember. Now it is happening more and more frequently and getting worse. Why do I feel this way? What do I do? Please help.”

This is an example of one of the most common types of recurrent depression and it can be treated successfully. You are not crazy, and you do not need to suffer any more. You say there is no reason for you to be depressed, but there really is. It’s in your brain. This does not mean that there is something “wrong” with your brain either. Depression is first and foremost a chemical beast, not just an emotional one. The chemicals in your brain affect your emotions. There does not need to be anything outwardly “wrong” in your life to cause you to experience depression. It is a simple chemical imbalance which is very, very, very common. We can’t express that enough. There are thousands upon thousands of people whose brains are just like yours. There are also thousands upon thousands more who haven’t had the courage to tell anyone about it. As the stigma surrounding mental health is disappearing, we are just now seeing an influx of people willing to talk about and get treatment for their depression.   Continue reading

Advice: Learn to Recognize FEAR

When an error light is on in your car, you have to identify what the problem is. When you figure out what is wrong, you are able to fix it. In your car, the cause of the problem is usually very clear. Your coolant level is low, so you need to add coolant to fix it. Your brake pads are worn, so you need to replace them. It’s that simple. Unfortunately, the opposite is usually true when it comes to problems with how you feel.

When you have a problem and feel bad, angry, depressed, or irritable, you have to identify why you feel that way. When you figure out what is wrong, you are able to deal with it. The majority of the time, however, it is not clear why you feel bad, so you don’t know how to deal with it. In fact, many times the reason for the way you feel may be disguised as something else. Therefore, identifying the root of the problem and dealing with your emotions is far from simple. Nine times out of ten, the root of a problem is much different than what it seems to be on the surface.

Fear is one of those feelings than can be very tricky to identify. Fear is often disguised as other things. Have you ever heard the phrase that all anger comes from fear? That’s because anger is a psychological defense for fear. Fear is also disguised as jealousy, hate and dislike to name a few. The following situations illustrate this point. Continue reading

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

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

“Advice: Beware of Gossip”

“Gossip is idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others; the act is also known as dishing or tattling.” (Wikipedia)

Everyone likes to gossip. It is means of social bonding. It can bring people together and liven up any conversation. We have gossip magazines, gossip television shows, and even gossip on the national news. Evolutionary psychologist Frank T. McAndrew says that gossip is an evolved social skill dating back to the age of the caveman. Although it is prevalent and accepted in our society, it has evolved into something that we should all beware of.

In 2018, gossip has evolved from something private into something public. It’s not a hush, hush comment or a juicy secret between best friends. Today, gossip is attainable because of the way we communicate. Judy tells Joe “secret” information about Jessica via social media or email. That information meant for Joe’s ear’s only is then instantaneously attainable to millions of other people around the entire world. Judy’s post or email can be copied and forwarded to anyone else, most likely to Jessica. Even if Judy is trying to keep her comments about Jessica discreet, they will get out. Practically nothing goes without being videotaped or recorded. Privacy has all but vanished. Jessica will find out what Judy said, and nine times out of ten, it will be hurtful.

So, let’s face it . . .  in 2018 if you are going to gossip about someone, it is going to get back to that person. You might as well be saying it directly to their face.  Therefore, if what you say about someone is not something you would tell them directly, DON’T SAY IT. Continue reading