When It Turns In

A friend told me something interesting about anxiety and depression…

Depression is anxiety turned inward. 


When people feel anxious and that they don’t have control over their situation that make them feel in a sense helpless, and then the anxiety “has no where to go,” it becomes depression. 


I guess it make sense that if you feel that you can’t really do anything to make things better–and no matter how hard you try–then you feel somewhat helpless/hopeless and get depressed


Perhaps it’s almost like a frustration at your own inability to change things you feel you need to change. 


That is why a person’s feeling some sense of control over their environment and life is so important. 


When things are looking down, it helps to try and do something to take back control over what feels like spiraling uncontrollable events and circumstances.  


Of course, only G-d really has control over what ultimately happens. 


But we need to do our part to try to make things better. 


Just taking that first (and second and third) step is freeing. 


I’m pretty sure that an element of this is that you can tell yourself that you “did everything you could” so in effect there is a lifting of guilt about the situation, but at the same time there is also a genuine feeling that you are here for a purpose and perhaps have made a difference in this world. 


Some people feel big and important, but the reality is that we are all so small in a very big world and universe where suffering and loss can strike (G-d forbid) at any moment. 


Man is but a speck of dust in the realm of things. 


But at the same time, our speck is filled with a soul of the living G-d. 


So we must do what we can to be a good influence and impact. 


Whatever it is, it is what we can do. 


If everyone–7.6 billion of us out there—does their part that can make a difference. 


Don’t let life’s anxieties become your depression.


Look for what you can contribute–do it!–try your best to make a difference and make the world better.


It’s what you’re here for and what you can positively do.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Advertisements

Have a Heart: Leadership With Heart

So many of you already know my leadership mantra. 


It’s all about:

Leadership With Heart


That means understanding that workers are human beings. 


Yes, they should act as professionals.


But also, they are people with imperfections and problems.


Whether they are fighting addiction, debt, illness, mental health issues, family problems, abuse, or personal loss. 


Life happens.


And it’s not always pleasant. 


Unfortunately, it seems like we are tested all the time. 


Therefore, good leaders, real leaders…lead with heart. 


They focus on the mission, but also empower, develop, and have empathy for the people. 


Think of the people you know in leadership positions today. 


Are they leaders with heart or heartless sons of guns. 


Who do you want to follow into the future?  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Work Is For Work

Car Pooling

So when I saw 2 awesome colleagues bright and early in the morning standing in the hallway on the way into the office already talking about work–I said, “You guys are already talking shop?”


Now it happens that these 2 actually carpool in together…


So I asked, “Didn’t you have enough time in the car to talk about this [business]?”


To which one person replied, “Oh no, we don’t talk about our work in the car!”


At first it seemed funny that you would wait an hour’s drive and not say what you have to about work and hold it until you just get in the door.


And then after a split second–well of course, that’s their time!


Work is for work. and free time is your personal time (for personal care, health, G-d, family, extra-curricular activities and interests, travel, etc.)


It’s good to have some healthy separation–to mentally box them out and to keep each sacrosanct. 


We can live and work (not just “live to work”) each in it’s own rightful time and place and get the most done for our jobs, ourselves, and our families. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attributio to AmatuerX)

You’re Wealthy Nuts

Wealthy

So Bloomberg Businessweek has a really funny article about all the wealthy people that need to go see shrinks. 

Get this–overall wealthy people are cursed with “Affluenza” (not influenza silly) and have “elevated levels of depression, anxiety, psychosomatic issues (physical symptoms from stress), and self-mutilation.”

Some specific reasons they go for mental health help:

Why Me–A trying issue to deal with is their guilt feelings about being so darn rich, while others are starving, homeless, and can’t make ends meet. 

Feeling A Little Lonely (And Hated)–They can’t help thinking that perhaps people only like them for their money.

Aimless In Life–What’s the purpose of their lives if they are living on easy street, don’t have to work, and can buy their way out of trouble. 

Money To Mess You Up–Some people have so much money, they can squander it on bad investments, but also on alcohol, drugs, sex, and so on.  

Fear Of Losing It All–Terrible thing about having so much money is you have to worry about losing so much money.  

So next time you are thinking about protesting against the top .1% who have as much as the bottom 90%, have a heart because the wealthy have a lot of problems too. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Chris Goldberg)

Finals Week

Finals Week
This was a funny (-sad) picture right outside the new Science and Engineering Building at the prestigious George Washington University today. 



It looks much like a noose and is lit up by the glass and modern finishes of this new building. 



So a colleague says jokingly to me “Is that because of [the stress of] finals week?”



Now execution and suicide are definitely not a laughing matter…



But what a juxtaposition of this gorgeous new building going up and the old time hangman’s noose (almost) hanging down. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 

Psychotherapy, In The Beginning

Psychotherapy
Wow, I love this early photo of psychotherapy.



The girl is lying on some pillows on 2 chairs. 



The Freudian doctor leans over the girl and is yanking on his goatee listening intently…and analyzing!



A man, that I assume is the girls dad is in the background, hovering protectively and hoping she is feeling better soon. 



The mind, like the body, unfortunately can get sick. 



And we need to take care of ourselves and seek help to get better. 



Fear not the competent doctor who really cares and sincerely wants to help (and is not just in it as a pure business).



Pray that G-d guides him to heal you and give you strength in body and peace of mind. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Beating Social Media Isolation

Lonely_with_social_media

There is a debate called the “Internet Paradox” about whether social media is actually connecting us or making us more feel more isolated.

I think it is actually a bit of both as we are connected to more people with time and space virtually no impediment any longer; however, those connections are often more shallow and less fulfilling.

There is an important article in The Atlantic (May 2012) called “Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?” that lends tremendous perspective on information technology, social media and our relationships.
The premise is that “for all this [new] connectivity, new research suggests that we have never been lonelier.”

The article is very absolute that despite all the technology and communication at our fingertips, we are experiencing unbelievable loneliness that is making people miserable, and the author calls out our almost incessant feelings of unprecedented alienation, an epidemic of loneliness, and social disintegration.

Of course, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that almost everyone can share, but there are also numerous studies supporting this, including:

1) Study on Confidants (2004)–showed that our average number of confidants shrunk by almost 50% from approximately 3 people in 1985 to 2 people in 2004; moreover, in 1985 only 10% of Americans said they had no one to talk to, but this number jumped 1.5 times to 25% by 2004.

2) AARP Study (2010)–that showed that the percentage of adults over 45 that were chronically lonely had almost doubled from 20% in 2000 to 35% in 2010.

Some important takeaways from the research:

Married people are less lonely than singles, if their spouses are confidants.

– “Active believers” in G-d were less lonely, but not for those “with mere belief in G-d.”

– People are going to mental professionals (psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, therapists, and counselors) as “replacement confidants.”

– Loneliness is “extremely bad for your health.

– Our appetite for independence, self-reliance, self-determination, and individualism can lead to the very loneliness that can makes people miserable.

– Using social media, we are compelled to assert our constant happiness and curate our exhibitionism of the self–“we are imprison[ed] in the business of self-presenting.”

Technology tools can lead to more integration or more isolation, depending on what we do with them–do we practice “passive consumption and broadcasting” or do we cultivate deeper personal interactions from our social networks?

Personally, I like social media and find it an important tool to connect, build and maintain relationships, share, and also relax and have fun online.

But I realize that technology is not a substitute for other forms of human interaction that can go much deeper such as when looking into someone’s eyes or holding their hand, sharing life events, laughing and crying together, and confiding in each other.

In January 2011, CNBC ran a special called “The Facebook Obsession,” the name of which represents the almost 1 billion people globally that use it. To me though, the real Facebook obsession is how preoccupied people get with it, practically forgetting that virtual reality, online, is not the same as physical, emotional, and spiritual reality that we experience offline.

At times, offline, real-world relationships can be particularly tough–challenging and painful to work out our differences–but also where we find some of the deepest meaning of anything we can do in this life.

Facebook and other social media’s biggest challenge is to break the trend of isolation that people are feeling and make the experience one that is truly satisfying and can be taken to many different levels online and off–so that we do not end up a society of social media zombies dying of loneliness.

Social media companies can do this not just for altruistic reasons, but because if they offer a more integrated solution for relationships, they will also be more profitable in the end.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to h.koppdelaney)