Recognizing Emotions

Can recognizing emotions really help you handle the troubling ones more effectively? Fortunately, or not, I recently had a chance to put this theory to the test.

Recognizing IRS
Where’s my money?
A Taxing Moment

When I checked the mail a return address triggered tightening in my face, shoulders, jaw, and chest: the crude outline of an eagle with a scale of justice for claws above the letters IRS. It was addressed to my partner, but because I had prepared her taxes and she was out of town visiting her family, I opened it to see if it contained something urgent.

The IRS and I had come to different conclusions about the tax owed. And they hadn’t written to say, “You accidentally overpaid.”

I felt…bad.

Shifting Blame…

My knee-jerk remedy for feeling bad is to find someone or something to blame.

My partner works with a financial advisor. Maybe she should hire a tax professional, too.

It’s Turbo Tax’s fault for designing software that requires an operating system that their QuickBooks accounting software won’t run on! 

Turbo Tax touts free online tax preparation, but they tried to up-sell me by over $100 when I entered a deduction for internet service that I use for my small business (and more than their small business software). As a former advertising professional, I have a visceral negative reaction to bait and switch.

That tax law that made the form easier for most Americans? I had to download and fill in more forms than I’ve ever used before.

Those IRS instructions (if line 13 is greater than line 12, add line 7 to line 14 and subtract line 11) are written for computers not humans.

…Doesn’t Work

Blaming my partner, or Turbo Tax, or Congress, or the IRS made me feel wronged, but it didn’t make me feel better.

Blaming others for my feelings may restore self-esteem, but empowering others to make me feel bad robs me of agency. 

Besides, I had offered to do the taxes.

I had chosen not to buy another computer or install and reinstall operating systems to use Turbo Tax software.  

I had chosen not to pay the up-sell to use online Turbo Tax.

Some of the people I voted into office have contributed to the tax code being what it is today.

Taking responsibility for my decisions made me responsible for my feelings, but it didn’t make me feel better. Good thing I remembered something else I could try.

What’s in a Name? 

Here’s the most exciting paragraph I read in Elisha Goldstein’s Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion

The amygdala’s job is to interpret the data we gather through our senses. When subjects label an emotion, brain activity shifts from the amygdala to the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for analyzing data and making decisions based on that analysis.

Okay, the words amygdala and prefrontal cortex don’t excite many people the way they excite me. So, let’s watch them in action. 

I hear a loud bang.

The amygdala interprets the sense data as unpleasant and energizes the body.

How I respond depends on what happens in the next moment.

Re-Cognizing Experience

To cognize means to perceive, know, or become aware of. The prefix re- means once more, afresh, or anew.

By perceiving; knowing; or becoming aware of emotion once more; afresh; or anew, we give ourselves the opportunity to analyze what is actually happening.

In response to the bang, deciding what to do next depends on whether I label the sensation as fear (based on the concept gunshot) or surprise (based on the concept firecracker).

The label helps determine what happens next. Fear: get the hell out of there or lay low. Surprise: get back to what I was doing.

Labeling the Emotion

I tried labeling the unpleasant physical sensations that arose from the tax letter as feeling incompetent (this label may also apply to the thought I am incompetent, but experience tells me that’s not always true). In one way or another, I have always been able to cope with taxes, mostly getting the numbers to work. The feeling of not being able to figure them out, of ceding independence to tax preparation software or a service is a blow to self-esteem. 

Another label might be feeling untrustworthy. I have taken on the responsibility of doing taxes within the relationship. My partner trusts me with the job. I know that I have a strong identification with being trustworthy. It’s a blow to feel that I can’t be trusted.

Label Analysis

While my experiential history with taxes played a role in activating my physical response, it didn’t apply to my current situation.  

I wasn’t afraid of dealing with my partner wailing and breaking down in tears of frustration. I wasn’t afraid of being thrown in prison for tax evasion or slapped with massive back taxes: things I associate with audits (though my own audit didn’t result in either). I wasn’t concerned about losing all my computer data while shuffling back and forth between operating systems.

I only needed to respond to this situation.  

Determining Action

Once I had labeled my emotion, I could analyze the situation and decide what to do. I apologized to my partner for the error and returned to the worksheets to see whether I could determine the discrepancy. 

Was it something I had missed? I could learn from my mistake.

Was it something they had missed? I could draft a letter explaining their error. 

Was it something I couldn’t figure out? I could acknowledge that I needed help preparing taxes without beating myself up about it.

Realization

In the end, I realized where I’d slipped up on the tax calculation. 

I also realized how recognizing emotions can prove beneficial.

The negative physical sensations had mostly subsided by the time I revisited the taxes. I was fairly clear-headed about something that had initially been emotionally charged.

Ten Minute Exercise

The original mindfulness manual advocates setting time aside to simply recognize whether a mood is present or not.

Elisha Goldstein applies that practice to depression treatment. Just as various roads lead you into a traffic circle, the depression loop has four entrance points: thoughts, feelings, sensations, and behaviors. Any one of these can lead you into the depression loop…

The first step in uncovering happiness and experiencing freedom from the depression loop is learning how to objectively see this loop in action instead of getting lost in it.

1. Take three minutes to identify emotions that coincide with the onset of a depressive episode. 

Goldstein offers some ideas: anxiety, sadness, irritability, impatience, moodiness, fear, emptiness, hopelessness, pessimism, guilt, shame, grief, anger, despair.

In my tax situation, I might label my initial physical sensations as anxiety (initial response), irritability (initial response), pessimism (incompetence at handling taxes going forward), shame (of being untrustworthy), anger (blaming others, then myself).

2. Take three minutes during the day, when you’re not engaged in activity that requires your full attention (either at intervals or all at once) to check in with your bodily sensations and notice whether they’re generally:

Pleasant and calm.

Pleasant and aroused. 

Unpleasant and calm.

Unpleasant and aroused.

Note whether the emotions on your list are present or absent.

I’d classify my initial sensations when noticing the IRS logo as unpleasant and aroused.  

3. Take three minutes to review your day (evening) or previous day (morning) and note which emotions (on the list or otherwise) you experienced.  

4. Use the final minute to place your hand on your heart out of gratitude for the absence of troubling emotions or out of resolve to take self-compassionate action when they are present. You can then choose a well-being practice that seems appropriate to try.

Intrinsic Treasure

I never thought a podcast conversation about one of my favorite movies, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, would lead to a post on intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation or the toll that the extrinsic can take on one’s mental health.

intrinsic
Intrinsic Versus Extrinsic Motivation

An article in Verywell Mind says “extrinsic motivation occurs when we are motivated to perform a behavior or engage in an activity to earn a reward or avoid punishment. Intrinsic motivation involves engaging in a behavior because it is personally rewarding; essentially, performing an activity for its own sake rather than the desire for some external reward.”

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre revolves around gold prospecting, an activity that few would engage in except for the potential reward. So, how could a movie about something I have no intrinsic interest in become one of my all-time favorite films?

Intrinsically Motivated Podcast 

I’ll let the hosts of the Unspooled podcast explain: “Paul Scheer is a lifelong movie buff, but he’s never seen many of the all time greats. On Unspooled, his team-up with film critic Amy Nicholson, he’s remedying that by watching the AFI’s (American Film Institute’s) top 100 movies of all time, to find out what makes classics like Citizen Kane and Taxi Driver so special.”

AMY: This film is terrific and nasty and dark and brutal and funny and strange. I loved this movie so much.

PAUL: I was kind of blown away by the film because it really is a dark character study. I mean, Humphrey Bogart’s character in this, I think, reminded me in many ways of a character like we saw in Taxi Driver: this person going mad and we’re along for this journey, and you understand it on some level.

Art Versus Commercial Potential

The Treasure of Sierra Madre would never have been made into a film if Humphrey Bogart hadn’t relished the challenge of playing the unsympathetic central character or possessed the star power to pick his next project.

Amy shares some studio notes on the source novel appraising its potential as a film. 

AMY: There’s no question that a very powerful picture could be made from this. What is the box office appeal would be the question… A fine product would result, but personally I doubt whether this subject could be sold to the women in audiences…

In some respects, the novel is reminiscent of Greed… and Greed was lauded as an artistic success, but it is not artistic success we are after but rather box office possibilities. And for this reason, we cannot recommend this novel.

Gold Digging Gone Wrong

Amy summarizes the the plot of the John Huston film starring Humphrey Bogart as Fred C. Dobbs: Fred C. Dobbs is a broke panhandler in Mexico. He makes a friend, who’s Tim Holt playing a character named Bob Curtin, and the two of them come into just enough money to convince an old-timey gold-digging genius to teach them how to dig for gold. The three of them set out, find gold, and the finding of the gold becomes a disaster.

The Problem with Extrinsic Motivation

AMY: It’s about this idea that as soon as you get a little bit of something you always want more, which is so fundamental in human nature that we get a lecture about it at the beginning, just to sort of set up what this film is about. 

Dobbs and Curtin meet the veteran prospector Howard (Walter Huston) in a flop house sharing stories with his fellow patrons.

FLOPHOUSE PATRON: $5,000 is a lot of money.

HOWARD: Mmm. Yeah, here in this joint it seems like a lot. But I tell you, if you was to make a real strike, you couldn’t be dragged away. Not even the threat of miserable death would keep you from trying to add $10,000 more. Ten you’d want to get twenty-five, twenty-five you’d want to get fifty, fifty, a hundred. Like roulette. One more turn, you know. Always one more.

DOBBS: It wouldn’t be that way with me. I swear it wouldn’t. I’d take only what I set out to get. Even if there’s still a half a million dollars worth lying around waiting to be picked up.

HOWARD: I’ve dug in Alaska and Canada and Colorado. I was with the crowd in the British Honduras, where I’d made my fare back home… and almost enough over to cure me of the fever I’d caught. Dug in California and Australia. All over the world, practically. Yeah. I know what gold does to men’s souls.

Paul observes that this film’s portrayal of prospecting is a parallel for addiction. Dobbs who’s never known wealth is sure that he can handle it. Howard, who’s been there, knows that he can’t trust himself.

What Gold Can Buy

AMY: I think one of the things that just really separates Bogart’s character from everybody else is that when they talk about what they’re going to do with money. They’re all forward thinking. One of them’s like, “I’m gonna build a shop, I’m gonna retire.” The other one’s like, “I want a peach orchard.” They have a goal in mind. And all Bogart wants is a good suit and he wants a good meal. He wants something immediate. He’s just a man with no forward thought. He’s only about immediate pleasures.

DOBBS: First off, I’m going to a Turkish bath to sweat and soak…till I get all the grime and dirt out of my system. Then I’m going to a haberdasher and gonna get myself a brand-new set of duds. Dozen of everything. Then I’m going to a swell cafe…order everything on the bill o’ fare and if it ain’t just right… or maybe even if it is, I’m gonna bawl the waiter out… and make him take the whole thing back.

Projecting Your Values on Others

Another problem with never knowing when you have enough is assuming others see the world as you do. This leads to unease when Howard asks Dobbs to go into town for provisions. 

DOBBS: (sarcastically to himself) They’re running short of provisions, Dobbsie, how about you going to the village? Who does Howard think he is, ordering me around?

HOWARD: What’s that Dobbs?

DOBBS: Nothing.

HOWARD: Better look out. It’s a bad sign when a guy start’s talking to himself. 

DOBB: Yeah? Well, who else am I going to talk to? Certainly not you or Curtin. Fine partners you two are.

HOWARD: Got something up your nose? Blow it out. It will do you good. 

DOBB: Don’t get the idea you two are putting anything over on me. 

HOWARD: Take it easy, Dobbs.

DOBBS: I know what your game is. 

HOWARD: Well, you know more than I do. 

DOBBS: Why am I elected to go to the village? Why me instead of you and Curtin? Oh, don’t think I don’t see through that? You two have thrown together against me. The two days I’d be gone would give you plenty of time to discover where my goods are, wouldn’t it? 

HOWARD: Got any fear along those lines, why don’t you take your goods along with you?

DOBBS: And run the risk of having them taken from me by bandits?

HOWARD: (humorous) If you was to run into bandits, you’d be out of luck anyway. They’d kill you for the shoes on your feet. 

DOBBS: Oh, so that’s it. Everything’s clear now. You’re hoping bandits’ll get me. That would save you a lot of trouble, wouldn’t it? And your consciences wouldn’t bother you none neither.

AMY: I love that scene because it shows how determined he is to spin everything into a negative. There’s no solution in the world when you are Dobbs.

A Personal Hell

Later in the film, when extrinsically motivated Dobbs betrays his partners before (he imagines) his partners betray him, he struggles with the voice inside him that tells him what he’s done is wrong. 

DOBBS: Conscience. What a thing. If you believe you’ve got a conscience, it’ll pester you to death. But if you don’t believe you’ve got one…what can it do to you? Makes me sick all this talking and fussing about nonsense.

AMY: Huston films it with Humphrey Bogart in front of a fire and these flames are just in front of his face like he is satan. It’s a straight up, “You are in hell now. This hell of your own creation.”

The Treasure in the Title

The only mention of treasure in the film comes from a letter by a character who’s not in the movie. It’s written by the wife of a fellow American prospector James Cody (Bruce Bennett) who follows Curtin back to camp when he goes for provisions. Cody joins the trio in fighting off bandits, but dies in the process. Curtin reads the letter they find in the dead man’s pocket.

CURTIN: “You say if you do not make a real find this time you’ll never go again. I cannot begin to tell you how my heart rejoices at those words, if you really mean them…” 

“Now I feel free to tell you. I’ve never thought any material treasure no matter how great, is worth the pain of these long separations… Of course, I’m hoping that you will at last strike it rich. It is high time for luck to start smiling upon you. But just in case she doesn’t, remember we’ve already found life’s real treasure.”

Four Minute Exercise

One of my favorite moments in Bogart’s performance occurs when he suggests to Curtin that they steal the old man’s goods. Curtin won’t play along, but he’s left in an impossible situation.

Watch this excerpt from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

If you’ve never seen the film, it’s far from a downer. It ends with one of the most famous laughs in movie history.

Stumbling Toward Post Traumatic Growth

I often run into the phrase Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. But, I hadn’t heard of its flipside, Post Traumatic Growth, until I stumbled into experiencing it myself!

Growth
The Adversity of Breaking Up

A close colleague recently met with me to sever our relationship.

It wasn’t out of the blue. It came after a flurry of emotionally charged emails that I did my best (unsuccessfully) to answer.

I accepted their decision without any animosity. Although the reasons were legitimate, we’d known each other for a few years, and we’d been friends, so the separation still stung.

Body Trouble

I’m used to letting people go. Co-workers I’ve befriended leave for other jobs, neighbors move to other cities, people join and leave groups I belong to. I’ve left jobs, neighborhoods, and groups, too.

A few hours after our parting, I was with my partner enjoying a screening of The Haunting, a favorite slow-burn supernatural thriller that I’ve loved since childhood. I was mostly absorbed in the movie. But, that enjoyment was occasionally hijacked by distress signals my body demanded I address.

Apparently, I hadn’t fully processed the event. It had lodged in my body as a wound. A fancy Greek word for wound is trauma.

The Lessons of Trauma

Shawn Achor’s book, The Happiness Advantage, explains how, if we’re not careful, what we learn from trauma can negatively impact all aspects of our life.

When people feel helpless in one area of life, they not only give up in that one area; they often “overlearn” the lesson and apply it to other situations. They become convinced that one dead-end path must be proof that all possible paths are dead ends. A setback at work might lead to despondency about one’s relationship, or a rift with a friend might discourage us from trying to form bonds with our colleagues, and so on.

Post Traumatic Growth

Fortunately, the same book introduced me to the term Post Traumatic Growth, a phenomenon that Richard Tedeschi and his colleagues at UNC Charlotte have been studying for a couple of decades. What kind of growth comes from a brush with adversity?

Mr. Achor writes:

Increases in spirituality, compassion for others, openness, and even, eventually, overall life satisfaction. After trauma, people also report enhanced personal strength and self-confidence, as well as a heightened appreciation for, and a greater intimacy in, their social relationships.

ABCDs of Growth

To help us stack the deck for growth, Mr. Achor discusses the ABCD approach. It stands for:

Adversity.

Belief.

Consequences.

Disputation.

The acronym might have been new to me, but the wisdom behind it, is older than Shakespeare’s Hamlet. “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

Adversity

The adversity part in this model is an event that we cannot change.

My colleague’s decision to discontinue our relationship would be an example.

There’s a certain subjectivity even to labeling an event as adverse, so it might be useful to think of it as an event that we experience as a wound.

Belief

According to Mr. Achor:

Belief is our reaction to the event; why we thought it happened and what we think it means for the future. Is it a problem that is only temporary and local in nature or do we think it is permanent and pervasive? Are there ready solutions, or do we think it is unsolvable?

While I had to accept my colleague’s decision, I had the presence of mind to ask for their reasons. This allowed me to evaluate a specific set of opinions instead of imagining everything that I might have said or done wrong. The latter would have been more likely to send me on a downward spiral.

Consequences

Because of the explanation, and the legitimate differences of opinion it revealed, I didn’t believe the problem was permanent or pervasive.

I apologized for the emotional pain I had contributed to, but because it hadn’t been intentional I wasn’t wracked with extreme guilt or self loathing.

I found myself in the weird position of cognitive and emotional self-acceptance accompanied by a bodily experience of a major depressive episode!

Because I hadn’t learned helplessness, I knew enough to add additional social events to my calendar to replace the ones I would be giving up. That was the logical thing to do. But, I also had to heal my wounded body.

Disputation

Mr. Achor writes:

Disputation involves first telling ourselves that our belief is just that—a belief, not fact—and then challenging (or disputing) it.

In a training session I’d done with a professional cuddler, we had discussed how the naturally calming effects of oxytocin might make a cuddle session the ideal setting for processing a traumatic experience.

How we remember events is malleable. So, taking a troubling memory out for an airing in an environment of calm, acceptance, and trust (all side effects of oxytocin) might significantly change the future feeling tone associated with that memory.

Scheduling conflicts prevented me from booking a session with that cuddler before I had the opportunity to attend a group cuddle session (where my body’s panicky “beliefs” could be calmed). I immediately followed that by conversing with someone familiar with the relationship dynamics between me and my colleague.

My body calmed, and reassurance by a third party that I had made mistakes, but not out of maliciousness, helped calm my mind.

Unintentional Alignment

In retrospect, it’s surprising how my experience aligns with the kind of growth that Shawn Achor described in his book.

The trauma strengthened my confidence in my mindfulness practice, which some people consider spiritual. I had greater compassion for my colleague, recognizing that it must have been hard on them, too. I took the opportunity to be more open than I usually am, which helped me move a couple acquaintanceships toward friendships. I added social events to my calendar to replace the ones that I would no longer be attending, and began building relationships with people I wouldn’t have otherwise met.

In terms of lessons learned, I recognized that because writing and editing sharpens my critical sense, it’s sometimes challenging to turn off my fault-finding habit in areas where it doesn’t serve me. My being less critical may prevent others from deciding to sever relations in the future.

Ten Minute Exercise

Though we can’t heal wounds in ten minutes, we can practice disputing beliefs that can lead to learned helplessness.

1. Set a timer for two minutes. Write down beliefs about an adverse event in your life that have not led to personal growth.

2. Set a timer for six minutes. Write a disputation of one belief.

Ask questions like:

  • What is the evidence for this belief?
  • Does the evidence support only one conclusion?
  • How might a skilled defense attorney argue for another interpretation of events more favorable to their client?
  • Would we let a close friend or loved one get away with this reasoning?

3. Set a timer for two minutes. Check to see whether a disputed belief might lead to:

  • Increases in spirituality
  • Compassion for others.
  • Openness.
  • Enhanced personal strength.
  • Self-confidence.
  • Improved social relationships.

Additional options. Though it takes more than ten minutes, The Work of Byron Katie discussed in “One Belief at a Time” offers a very helpful framework for disputation. The One-Belief-at-a-Time and Judge Your Neighbor worksheets are available here under downloads.

Consistency and Taking Small Steps

“We tend to see success as an event versus this series of small steps that are taken day after day, or a series of choice points that are made over and over.” – Eric Zimmer

small steps

Eric Zimmer, host of The One You Feed podcast recently posted a mini-episode entitled “Essential Concepts: Consistency and Taking Small Steps.” He covers principles that he uses in his Transformation Program. Mr. Zimmer has personal experience with cultivating positive habits to overcome addiction, but the importance of consistency and small steps applies to depression, too.

Mistakenly Seeing Success as an Event

One sunny day on my way from the parking lot to my advertising job, I noticed an unfamiliar sense of well-being. I felt that the fog of my depression had lifted. The birds were singing, sunshine warmed my cheeks and a gentle breeze caressed its heat away. The meds had kicked in.

I thought my depression was cured. I saw this as the end of my journey, not a place to begin.

“It’s so easy,” says Mr. Zimmer, “to overestimate one defining moment but underestimate how important it is to keep making small improvements. In the beginning, and day by day, there’s not a huge difference between making a choice that’s a little bit better or a little bit worse. But, if you follow that over a period of time, big gains or big losses occur.”

That mistake cost me: in weight gain, rage, relationships, withdrawal, and years of cyclical misery.

Treating the Effect Instead of the Cause

I didn’t understand (nor did the medical community at the time) that an “imbalance” in my brain chemistry was an effect of depression, not the cause. No one was thinking of the brain as an organ that was constantly forming new neural connections based on our experience. Doctors didn’t associate a chemical imbalance in those same neural pathways as the physical manifestation of consistently taking small steps reinforcing depression-producing habit patterns.

No one told me that fine-tuning my brain chemistry without addressing the mental and behavioral habits that created it was comparable to:

  • Sticking my hand in a fire.
  • Anesthetizing my hand to numb the pain.
  • Sticking my hand in the fire again.
Misguided Values

“What we’re after,” says Mr. Zimmer, “is continuing to make small changes in the direction of what matters to us.”

What mattered to me at the time was beating depression with as little effort (taking a pill) as possible.

The drug helped restore the energy I needed to keep doing what mattered to me. But doing the things the media and my peers told me I needed to do to be happy led me to depression instead.

Doubting Well-Being

“The problem that a lot of us have is when we don’t see success quickly we tend to give up,” Mr. Zimmer continues. “We hear about the value of meditation, so we might meditate a few times and suddenly we don’t feel different, our life isn’t different, and so we stop. Or, we hear deep breathing sounds like it could really help me with my anxiety. So, we try and take a couple deep breaths a couple times, we don’t see any big difference, we stop.”

I had read enough about the new (at the time) class of antidepressants to overcome my doubt and put in the minimal effort for me to take them for three weeks. The drug manufacturer’s narrative was simple to accept. Depressed brains were vacuuming up serotonin too quickly. “Normal” (happy) brains allowed serotonin to hand around longer. The drug helped the serotonin hang around.

I had also dabbled with meditation and breath work, but not even Jon Kabat-Zinn could provide a simple enough narrative to assuage my doubts in them.

Science Versus the Supernatural

It’s a shame that the people who taught me gratitude and compassion also taught me about Noah’s Ark. The parents who taught me to take deep breaths and count to ten when I was angry also told me that Santa Claus visited every child on the planet in one night.

Donald Hebb’s 1949 assertion that “Neurons that fire together, wire together” might have been a less confusing teaching meme than “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It was, in any case, my reality.

With each set of neurons firing to produce a baby step that kept me vertical, neurons wired together and I remembered how to walk. The same thing happened when I associated a winged creature with the sound created when b-i-r-d is pronounced, and later wiring the neurons associating the letters with the sound.

It took time for the science to catch up, but, thanks to brain scans, we now know that consistent meditation, even in small doses, can grow the brain region associated with mood regulation and shrinks the region associated with volatile mood swings.

The science of intentional breathing is so effective at engaging the parasympathetic nervous system and easing anxiety that the US Military teaches it.

And it turns out that consistent small steps wiring together the neurons associated with social connection, cooperation, compassion, generosity, and gratitude all build a brain’s sense of balance and even contribute to longevity.

Self Compassion and Acceptance

“In the same way that we realize that small steps lead us toward a good thing,” reminds Mr. Zimmer, “we also realize that a couple of steps that aren’t taken, or a couple of steps in the wrong direction do not spell disaster. It just means we take the next step as soon as we can.”

As I noted in the post “Shame, Blame, and Self-Acceptance,” recovering from our stumbles begins with our admission that we’re not perfect. We never will be nor do we need to be. There’s no reason to blame ourselves or be ashamed of our lapses.

Even the manufacturers of my antidepressant included instructions for what to do when I accidentally skipped or doubled up on my dosage.

If I had accepted that taking an antidepressant was the beginning of my journey from depression to well-being and not the end, I could have lived many more depression-free or at least depression-resistant years. But nobody’s perfect.

Ten Minute Exercise

Listen to Mr. Zimmer’s mini episode (just shy of 10 minutes at 9:48) “Essential Concepts: Consistency and Taking Small Steps

Extra credit: subscribe to The One You Feed podcast.