Let’s Wage War On Depression

August 19, 2014 at 1:35 am | Posted in Personal | Leave a comment

As we reflect on the life of Robin Williams and all the media that is circulating, I can’t help but wonder about how things could have been different.
I can’t help but think about the difference it would have made if he knew the true impact that he had on people’s lives. Whether he was doing stand-up, SNL, or a movie, he was almost always making us laugh. But because he was such a great actor, he could also bring us to tears with his poignant portrayals and bringing to life situations and emotions that we have ourselves gone through. I, for one, have been moved and captivated by his time here on earth. I’m sure you have too. I wonder if he really knew that. I wonder if he really understood his impact.

What can make a difference

Depression is a strange thing and comes in a variety of intensities and manifestations. So many people go through it that even the numbers probably don’t reveal the true scope of its punch. The sad reality is everyone goes through depression in their life to some degree. And while there may be no known sure-fire cure, I can’t help but go back to wondering what could make a difference.

A New Agreement

With all the stresses and pressure in life today, there are too many times that we are overly hard on ourselves and those around us to be perfect, to be better, to be good enough. We just aren’t taking enough time to build ourselves and each other up. So how about today making a new agreement with yourself. How about going forward from today, that you get in the habit of being kinder to yourself and others. Choose to be part of a community that serves each other and makes people feel important and cared for.

The Challenge

What if today you told someone what was great about them in public and were proud you did? What if you wrote something nice on someone’s FB wall each day for at least the next 30 days to let them know the impact they have had on you. I wonder if that would have made a difference for Robin Williams. I wonder if it will make a difference for you and the people you know and care for.

Let’s Be A Community Of Encouragement

I hope you’ll take the challenge with me and I truly hope that it does make a difference for someone, so less tears have to be shed for the loss of someone we love. I know depression is beyond tough. But I would like to think that when we are feeling blue or less than adequate, that we could look to the words of our loved ones, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances, and instead of thinking about all the things that are wrong with life or ourselves, that instead we can see that we each do matter and remember the difference we truly do make in the lives of others.

Today, I’ll start with my wonderful wife, Tonya. But, perhaps tomorrow I’ll take the challenge a little deeper and write encouraging words to someone that I barely know.
Who will you acknowledge and build up today?

Disclaimer – This is not an attempt as a sole solution to solving what can be a very serious medical issue. This is merely an attempt to provide a way to try and verbally support those who may be enduring a challenging time. If someone feels depressed and overwhelmed they should go seek a professional. There’s absolutely no shame in that. We all need help at times.

Slow and steady wins the race

January 4, 2014 at 4:48 am | Posted in Relationships | Leave a comment
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To all those who will begin working out next week – my advice from working out for many, many years is to go easy and don’t kill yourself.
Give yourself an extra week or two to let your body get used to working out again, especially if you haven’t done if for an extended period. You may even need to go more slowly for 3-4 weeks.

People think being sore equates to strength and gain. That’s not necessarily the case.
It’s far better to start out a little slower, save your joints and ligaments and let your muscles build up to what you want them to do slowly vs. blowing them out, ending up with overstretched tendons and ligaments and crying sore muscles.

The goal is just keep at it.
The prize is not how much you can do in the first 2 weeks. No one ever got to their ultimate physical goal in 2 weeks. The prize is staying with it and not being frustrated by overly sore muscles.

No one ever took a race car out, cold, after it’s been sitting for 6 months and put the pedal to the floor. That’s the best way to blow an engine.

Keep your engine running, allow your body and muscles time to warm up and get used to physical activity again. If you’re feeling good after doing light reps, weight, and/or intensity after the first 2 weeks, then begin increasing the intensity or resistance each week, a little at a time. This is the key to preservation of your body. You only get one.  : )

Victim of Circumstance or Creator of Destiny

December 7, 2013 at 1:44 am | Posted in Relationships | Leave a comment
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It was interesting to hear a family member say to me recently, that “you are ‘lucky’ you’ve never been addicted to anything”.

That’s an interesting perspective..
This whole time I thought it was by choice.

Working in the biomedical field for the past 12 years and having worked in a detox center for a year, I certainly understand there are circumstances, both biological and psychological that can impact our decisions.
But, for me personally, I have made conscious choices not to be ‘addicted.’ So rather than considering myself lucky, I just try to stay aware of what the consequences will be when I make a choice, to do or not do something, and let that be my guide.
Would I like to eat chocolate desserts all day, spend more money, and take illegal substances to make me look bigger and stronger, so I didn’t have to work out as hard, ABSOLUTELY!!
But I look at the long term ramifications of those choices and choose not to do those things.

Therefore, I don’t consider myself ‘lucky,’ I just try to be prudent about the choices I’m faced with.

I’m sure this will cause some debate, which is fine, but I don’t want to think that my life is guided by ‘luck’, but rather by conscientious decisions led by weighing pros and cons and seeing the bigger picture. I don’t want to be a victim of circumstance, but a collaborator in my own destiny.

Why Pep Talks Matter

October 3, 2013 at 6:53 am | Posted in Personal, Relationships | Leave a comment
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What kind of pep talks do you give?

For many of us, it’s easy to give pep talks to those we care for.
For example, giving a word of encouragement to your daughter for her upcoming volleyball game, giving words of wisdom to your brother that is getting married, and giving that helpful enthusiasm to your friend for their new venture.
We seem to have an innate tendency to cheer others on.

But what about pep talks to yourself?
What do you say to yourself throughout the day?

I find that most people struggle more to give their self a pep talk, than they do giving rallying words of encouragement to others.
Do you find yourself in that category?
If so, it’s time to stop the non sense and become an advocate for yourself as well. If your family and friends are good enough, so are you.
So now is the time to start offering those same inspiring conversations to yourself.

No, you’re not crazy for talking to you. We all do it. What would be crazy is if you allowed yourself to speak badly to the person you should love the most, you. That’s not intended to be narcissistic or egocentric, that is intended to be helpful. If we don’t have a real appreciation and love for ourselves, it’s hard to offer that same type of love for others, genuinely.

So if you find yourself giving words that are any less than inspiring, helpful, and encouraging, ask yourself – what would I say to a friend; then offer yourself that same good pep talk. It’s those pep talks that will help you to be happier, more positive, and accomplish things you never thought were possible.

New Year’s Resolutions

January 2, 2013 at 4:58 am | Posted in Personal | Leave a comment
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Many of us make New Year’s Resolutions to start the new year. Many of those resolutions are the same as they were in the past. Furthermore some, if not most, were perhaps never accomplished. 

By now, most of us know what we will and won’t do. So instead of trying things that you know you’re not going to accomplish, why not think a little deeper and longer, thinking outside the box and try things you know you will work towards. Gaining that sense of accomplishment can be the very propellent that will give you the motivation and confidence to eventually get you to do the other things that have been holding you back. 

Why fight a futile battle? Instead, make a resolution to try to change the way you think about things. After all, most actions start with “thought” anyway. So creating things and resolutions that are realistic, is most of the battle. 

Resolutions don’t have to be hard. Make them things you enjoy doing, things that are fun and productive. Then you get the best of both worlds. It may sound easier said than done, but again, think harder and you can come up with some creative ways to conquer your goals. 

Another trick is to start small, if needed. We don’t have to tackle the entire obstacle the first week. To think otherwise, can be foolish. 

So this year, I hope before writing down or plotting in your mind, “resolutions” that don’t stand a chance of being tackled, that you will think a little more consciously about who you are and what is real and realistic. Having this better sense of self and reality will get you closer to who you want to be and taking more control of your life. 

I hope it’s a great year for us all. But remember, without getting too philosophical, much of what “is” – starts inside each of us, in our thoughts. 

Many blessings and much luck to all of you in 2013.

Let’s rest from political unrest

November 14, 2012 at 5:36 am | Posted in Relationships | 1 Comment

When considering all the political unrest of the last few weeks, I still can’t help but think, that somewhere in the middle is the answer. But, I tend to think that way in general. ; ) I’m definitely considered more grey vs. black and white. This is b/c I’ve found it rare in life, that extremism, in any form, gets the job done when considering a long-term scenario, whether it be in health, finances, relationships, etc.

I know I’ll have dissenters. But I did use “rare” as the operative word, so that does mean there are exceptions. So let’s play nicely. ; )

With all that said, I started looking at the physical and philosophical implications and this analogy began to play in my mind.
“Somewhere in the middle, is where the pendulum comes to ‘rest’.” (Coty Evans)
I wish we’d all ‘rest’ more, argue less, and realize the good for the whole is the good of the future.

Create the change

July 16, 2011 at 1:31 am | Posted in Personal | Leave a comment
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For all the time, effort, and energy a person spends on thinking about the negative, the wrongs in their life, and how much they haven’t done, imagine instead, how far utilizing all that energy, toward accomplishing a goal, could take them.

 Everyone knows someone like this.

Think about all of your time these people consume as you listen to them lament about all the injustices. That’s a lot of wasted time that could be spent doing something productive and positive.

If this is you, take notice and change your course.

If this is someone you know, encourage them to look toward positive things in their life and motivate them to work on their strengths vs. focusing on their weaknesses.

This will help to empower them as they realize that there are things they are good at.

We all have the ability to help transform ourselves and others.

Use your energy to create the change.

The Choice Becomes The Quest

July 20, 2010 at 4:16 am | Posted in Personal | Leave a comment
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In life many things are inevitable. One of those things is the fact that there will be times we will be hurt and that we, ourselves, will hurt others.

Indeed this is not a scientific law, but just a simple fact.

The quest of life is to experience, to learn, to grow, to love, and to find happiness.

During that quest comes the trials and tribulations each of us face, some greater than others. For some, more challenging trials than others.

No matter the quest however, we all are faced with the opportunity to look inside –  dig a little deeper, try a little harder, grow a little more, love a little larger.

We all have a choice.

We are unquestionably subject to other’s actions at times and the repercussions.  Fortunately for each of us though, we have a choice to go beyond and choose goodness, to chose love, to chose peace.

That requires openness, love for oneself, forgiveness, faith and hope.

I have felt the pangs of hatred, bitterness, resentment, and discontent, as have each of you……….

My choice - to love a little greater, be a little happier, to forgive myself and others, and keep running in pursuit of peace and serenity.

For those things, the quest sometimes is certainly not easy, but it’s not far, I merely have to look WITHIN.

Don’t Rush In

March 8, 2010 at 10:35 am | Posted in divorce | Leave a comment
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One of the more common questions after divorce is -

“How long should I wait before dating or getting into another relationship?”

This is a good question.

Many, while going through the divorce process or shortly after, feel like they’re ready to get out there and date again.

The primary reason for this is typically a lack of companionship which causes them to feel lonely.

The experts recommend waiting one year for every four years of marriage. So for example, if a couple was married eight years, the recommended reprieve from dating would be two years.

While some may be fine with that wait, I know others would think to themselves, “yeah right, that’s ridiculous, I’m not waiting that long”.

While I can’t say I blame you for the attempt to rush back into dating or another relationship, there are many reasons the experts give the advice they do about the wait.

Let’s take a look at a couple.

One reason is related to the 5 stages of grief. They are:

1. Denial – denying the event took place

2. Anger – a person may be mad at the ex or themselves for the                divorce

3. Bargaining – making bargains to try to take away or                                                          make up for the loss

4. Depression – feeling sad, lonely, and numb

5. Acceptance – accepting the reality of the loss

Unless someone is in the fifth stage, acceptance, all the other stages will have an affect on their ability to be emotionally ready for another relationship.

Imagine if a person is still angry with their ex over the divorce. That anger is going to manifest in other areas of their life, including their interactions with others. The manifestations could result in outward anger, repression, irritability, passive-aggressive-ness, overcompensation, etc.

What if a person is still in the ‘depression’ stage?

Firstly, how much effort are they truly going to be able to contribute to another person?

Secondly, that’s probably not a person’s true self.

So the divorcee may have a different persona or character about them during this depressed time that they would not normally exhibit.  

So, the person being “dated” wouldn’t truly know the real person they were dating.

So, it’s honestly not fair to either person.

Another reason to postpone dating is because of the “emotional baggage”. I know this is a new buzz word, but emotional baggage is very real for those who have gone through divorce, especially if it was a long term or tumultuous relationship.

We can’t just immediately burn through all the emotions and feelings that come after ending a significant relationship. Those feelings and emotions need time to be processed. Some do this more quickly than others, but it still takes time.

If you rush into another relationship too quickly all of the old things that you used to do will follow you if you haven’t worked through them.

For example, if a person is the jealous type and that’s one of the reasons for the disintegration of the previous relationship, unless a person worked through those issues to become less jealous, they are going to take that same problem into the next relationship. This will likely have the same outcome as the first if the jealously continues.

So, before rushing into dating and trying to find that next relationship, make sure you’ve at least made your way through the 5 stages of grief and have worked through some of the issues that may have contributed to problems in your previous relationship.

Time is a Gift

March 8, 2010 at 10:30 am | Posted in divorce | Leave a comment
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You’ve heard the old cliche before, “Time is a Gift”.

But, to ask a divorced person if that is that is true, they may very well disagree. After divorce, “time” can seem quite the opposite of a gift, but more like an enemy.

There are days and nights that just seem to crawl agonizingly slow because of the loss that has occurred.

There are even some people, prior to the divorce who seemed to have had hardly a minute to spare and would wish for extra time during those previous day. But now, even for those, the day can’t seem to go by fast enough.

Divorce leaves people wishing for many things and one of those wishes is a rush for time to go by.

For those with that thought, the old adage “time heals all wounds” brings comfort.

Therefore, there are just pure wishes that the next day would come along for a chance at a brighter start.

Divorce can certainly be a major distraction, leaving hours, days, and months to pass with lack of focus. But Dr. John Gray, the author of “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” states “when you sabotage yourself with unnecessary distractions, you throw away the very precious gift of time”.

His point is don’t waste the opportunity that has presented itself on losing focus on what’s important, YOU!

People going through divorce want to rush through the healing process and eliminate all of the grief that has been forced upon them.

But out of some of the darkest points in people’s lives, have come some of the greatest feats and triumphs.

The same can be true of divorce.

This is a time that you can use to forgive yourself for mistakes made and forgive others for theirs. A time to reassess your needs, your wants, and your desires. A time to regain your emotional strength and discover a new life within you.

It certainly is true that healing from divorce will take time. However, as with all situations in life, we can use time as a tool.

If you’re going through divorce, this time can be used to work on you, to focus on you, and to take the steps that to build a new life and build new and existing friendships.

Time spent with good friends and family is a good way to comfort the soul. They will understand your need for time to heal. They can provide you a consoling ear, a shoulder to cry on, and encouragement to take advantage of new opportunities.

Don’t let divorce rob you of time, but use this time to your advantage. If not, the only one who will be cheated, is you.

So use this time to build stronger relationships with your family and friends, but also the relationship with yourself, which is the most important of all.

Time knows no friends and knows no enemies. It is indifferent.

So we can’t expect time to be benevolent and work for us, but must find ways to take advantage of it and use it for our favor.

“Carpe Diem!”

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