“What disturbs people’s minds is not events, but their judgments on events.”
In China, parents once bound the feet of their daughters in pursuit of beauty. In parts of Africa, both men and women elongate their earlobes and decorate their skin with minerals to look attractive, and this trend may be found in the United States now. At one time in this society, we found plump, rotund people to be the epitome of beauty.
Old movies show us that the Tarzans and Supermen of past decades would hardly pass muster in today’s gyms. Today we define beauty as a thin, youthful, and muscular look. Today we go under the knife and on extreme diets to achieve a socially acceptable appearance – not to mention tattoos and body piercing – all practices that are similar to the early Chinese custom of binding feet.
Although changes are taking place, strong social standards have dictated, especially through the media, how we should look – and if our own bodies deviate from these expectations, which is the case for almost all of us, we can feel inferior and ashamed. We hide. We cover up. We don’t like an important part of our selves. We feel depressed. We feel anxious in front of other people. We feel powerless – and we are apologetic when we show the world who we are.
Obesity is at epidemic proportions in the United States and most Westernized countries. If you are overweight, you are hardly alone, as you can see by looking around you. About two-thirds of Americans are overweight and the statistics climb by the year.
Even children now are heavier than they have ever been – and this is happening during a time in our history when the thin look is defined as the ideal. Type II diabetes and hypertension (or high blood pressure) are two diseases associated with obesity, and the rates of these diseases have been increasing steadily over the years. Obesity is also linked to heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers.
When we commit ourselves to a relationship with another person, we rightly expect to experience a sense of fulfillment that we didn’t have before. Humans, as social beings, seem to have a universal desire to find a partner. Sexual attraction often serves as the motivator for making initial contact with the other person, and this is usually replaced over time with a deeper sense of commitment and intimacy.
It comes as a terrible disappointment to some people when the sexual phase of their relationship fails to lead in time to something deeper. The task, then, is to understand the forces which block the development of a deeper sense of intimacy – and to do something about it. Fortunately, with some work – and it’s often hard work – couples can learn to move into the stage of deeper sharing and more fulfillment in their relationships.
What a revolutionary breakthrough it would be if we found a way to lower blood pressure, lessen the ravages of depression, boost our immune systems, enhance our sense of emotional well being, decrease our feelings of loneliness, increase motivation, elevate our self-image, and promote our ability to trust! These are only some of the benefits of pet ownership. Under most circumstances, having a pet is a healthy and healing experience.
Engaging in Simple, Healthy Pleasures Can Restore Balance to our Hectic Lives
The brain has several pleasure centers which are activated by chemicals which speed satisfying sensations from one nerve to the next. Children the world over, when they are left alone to do what they choose, engage in endless hours of play. They pursue fun. Childhood may be the time in life when our brains are trained to experience pleasure. If we accomplish this task well as children, we may have healthier lives as adults — as long as we don’t lose the ability to play that we acquired in childhood.
Active Communication Requires One Person to Talk and the Other to Listen … and Both to Do Their Parts Well
Listening is the other half of communication. Our first thought, when we think about communication, may be to consider the speaker’s ability to convey ideas effectively. What we often forget is that without a listener the speaker may as well be talking to the wind. Just as effective speaking is an acquired skill, so is good listening. Some do it better than others. But all of us can learn to enrich our own listening skills.
“If I Win, You Lose” is Not Our Only Option!
Control, like most facets of human behavior, is probably best experienced in moderation. At one end of the spectrum, control is a positive, adaptive tool. For example, control over prolonged and constant chaos in our lives is usually a good thing. At the other end, control can be seen as negative. People who are over-controlled to the point of being unable to feel or express emotion can find life’s expected turmoils to be difficult or even impossible to handle.
Most divorcing people are forced to come to terms with a number of fears. What will people say? Who can I trust to talk to? How can I handle my partner’s anger toward me? How do I deal with my own anger? Am I a complete failure? How can I be a single parent? Will I be able to keep my children? What about money? Can I do the banking and buy groceries and pay bills and fix the car? Can I handle my loneliness? Am I completely unlovable? Will I ever love anyone else again? Do I have the energy for this much change? When we hold on to our fears and refuse to do anything about them, we increase the likelihood that these will be the very areas where we experience trouble.
The incidence of depression in our society seems to be on the rise. Recent estimates suggest that as many as one in three of us will experience some form of depression within our lifetimes. Others claim that depression may even represent a symptom of our times which are characterized by alienation, lack of strong community bonds, and hopeless economic situations for many.
It is normal to feel sad and experience down days occasionally. Most people go through normal periods of feeling dispirited, especially after they experience a loss or any other period of stress.
But what specialists call clinical depression is different from just being “down in the dumps.” The main difference is that the sad or empty mood does not go away after a couple of weeks – and everyday activities like eating, sleeping, socializing, or working can be affected.
We don’t always have the full range of words to explain what we are going through.
For example, we might say that we feel sad. Yet, in fact, we might have clinical depression and not even realize it. Alternatively, we might recognize depression in someone else who insists that they are “just sad.”
Honestly, it can be hard sometimes to tell the difference.
Sadness is a regular, temporary, human emotion. Depression, in contrast, is a mental health condition. Usually, it requires some kind of dedicated treatment before the condition will improve.
Here are seven key differences between sadness and depression.
1. The Cause for Sadness or Low Mood
One key difference between sadness and depression is whether or not something provokes the emotion. We feel sadness in response to something. For example, a breakup causes people to feel sad.
In contrast, depression doesn’t have a specific cause. We can sometimes point to reasons, finding a cause. However, when the mood doesn’t lift, we see that’s not the real reason. Something underlying it all is at the root. If we can’t find a concrete cause for feeling blue, then we need to consider that it might be depression.