I’ve been in a funk all day
An underrated aspect of depression is a prevailing sense that life is meaningless. When used the right way, this key insight can lead to mental well-being, inner peace, and outward empathy.
I think I know enough to use caution when going down a flight of stairs, but forgetting the difference between thinking and knowing still trips me up every day.
I once laughed at a bumper sticker that read “Reality is for people who can’t handle drugs.” A Fresh Air interview with Michael Pollan about his book How To Change Your Mind convinces me that ego is for people who can’t handle reality.
On two successive Friday evenings I found myself lured toward depression by an inner voice that sounded very much like self compassion. My challenges on these two evenings helped me recognize the importance of spotting depression’s early warning signs and developing strategies to keep the beast at bay.
Shortly after you were born, your mother had a shocking conversation with her doctor about your unusual sleep habits.
“A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It is not our thoughts, but the attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering. Attaching to a thought means believing that it’s true, without inquiring. A belief is a thought that we’ve been attaching to, often for years.” – Byron Katie
Avoiding Taxing Situations
The ultimate penalty for avoiding taxes is prison. The penalty for growing the list of things we avoid is a prison of our own making.
In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare’s character Lysander says, “The course of true love never did run smooth.” How well we negotiate relationships can mean the difference between depression and well-being. Susan Piver’s new book The Four Noble Truths of Love helps us navigate that course.
Every day I run into circumstances where my mind’s habitual response is resistance. Last Saturday, one of the things I resisted most vehemently was leading a discussion entitled, “Welcome Everything, Push Away Nothing.”
A quote from anthropologist Helen Fisher got me thinking about how sex impacts our well-being and depression. “I don’t think, honestly, we’re an animal that was built to be happy; we are an animal that was built to reproduce. I think the happiness we find, we make.”
The work of Srikumar S. Rao explores how our mental models construct our reality.
A surprising question about the the future got me thinking about problems we can never answer through thought.
Each episode of the positive psychology podcast, “The Science of Happiness” consists of a summary of a happiness practice, an interview with a happiness guinea pig (who has tried the practice out), and gives a brief summary of the research suggesting why the practice is helpful.
It’s ironic but totally healthy that we mark our nation’s independence with a celebration of dictatorship, interdependence, and e pluribus unum.
If old holiday traditions don’t bring you joy, there’s an even older one you can try that works every day.
The Invisibilia episode “High Voltage (Emotions Part Two)” featured the story of a twenty-six-year-old woman with an interesting happiness problem. Worrying about whether or not she was happy made her throw up.
The idea of a true self may best be thought of as a valuable fiction. But when that fiction turns to rumination, it pays to write it down.
Gratitude is a highly effective antidote to negative moods and mind-states. But, when we’re expected to be grateful for things we’re not, it can backfire.
Cycles of depression are often accompanied by negative thought patterns that, once triggered, go on auto play. So are earworms.
Music has charms to soothe the savage breast. It makes total sense that it also has charms to help one cope with depression.
When faced with changes in our environment, our internal climate can be shaped by grief or gratitude.