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But first, First things first.
Depression, not the best of topics eh? Never the less, …I have heard, I have listened and …I have felt the need to discuss this from some of my fellow passengers. First, let’s talk about understanding and recognizing signs of those around you who might be dealing with this issue.
If someone close to us is suffering from depression, we may feel isolated. In fact, from what I have researched, depression is a remarkably prevalent disease. As many people suffer from major depression as from other leading chronic conditions.
Why then is it so difficult to watch a family member suffer from depression? I very definitely feel that the main part of the difficulty comes from the stigma of mental illnesses, particularly an illness that is often related to â€œthe blues. The cultural assumption is often that if people didn’t want to be depressed they should only get out of bed and do something â€“ And as for us men folk….“Just MAN-UP!”.
But as I suspect we all know now, true depression is much more complex than that. The US’s National Institute of Mental Health states on its website: â€œDepression is a serious medical condition. In contrast to the normal emotional experiences of sadness, loss, or passing mood states, clinical depression is persistent and can interfere significantly with an individual’s ability to function.â€ And being the partner of someone who is depressed and potentially starting to experience difficulty functioning through the daily stresses of every day life can be very difficult.
Dealing with someone who is depressed can be frustrating and well, quite frankly, depressing in and of itself. It’s extremely frustrating to continually reach out to someone who doesn’t seem able to respond or to respond appropriately or consistently. Well, at least one thing as been verified for me and that is, it’s perfectly normal to feel annoyed and angry, and even despairing.
Passengers of the LifeTrain, NOW HEAR THIS! If you have been feeling this way and it is beginning to impact on your own quality of life, support
for yourself should be your first priority. Finding a counsellor or support group can make all the difference as you navigate the waters of supporting a family member as he or she grapples with the disease and its results.
The important thing to keep in mind is that depression truly is a disease. Although it’s difficult to change your thinking, if you can come to understand that your loved one truly has limited control over his or her state of mind, and to treat it as an illness and not a lack of desire or willpower, we will be on our way to finding a clearer understanding of the reality of your situation.
Most of all…know that “we” are not alone…heck…as much as I hate to admit it….one time, back in 1934, or was that 1935, I was a bit down myself!
To be continued….
The only shame is not reaching out for help…
All Aboard, The LifeTrain!
n conjunction with today’s post, give this a listen (CLICK):
Hey Fellow passengers! I greet you with a smile hug, and a small white business card today. The black letters read:
“FEAR IS A LIAR!”.
As we kick things off let’s take a look at that old liar, “FEAR”. It’s so easy to get stuck in it. To let it hold you back. I have been there at times in my life. One of the reasons for that is that I made a common mistake.
And it’s this:
You misinterpret the often little information you have.
It is easy to take very few experiences – or maybe just one – and start seeing them as evidence of something permanent and frightening in your life. So what can you do instead to reduce your fears?
Here’s what worked for me…
Question your fears and what they are based upon.
Think back to what evidence you have in your memories for a fear and a belief of yours.
Try to see the situation(s) that created your fear with fresh eyes today. Instead of
the way you may usually see them.
Doing this helped me to for example reduce my fear in certain situations. I looked back at a few situations from my past that formed and fueled that fear.
And I realized these two things:
Honestly, I may have just misinterpreted being rejected in some of those situations.
I often wasn’t rejected because it was something wrong with what I did but simply because we weren’t realistically a good match for each other. Or because the other person had a bad day or because he or she simply wanted to push me down to feel better about himself or herself in that moment.
This was an eye-opening experience and also helped me to understand that everything is not about me and what I do. And that our memories can often be pretty inaccurate and unhelpful if not
reexamined later on.
Our minds love to create patterns and conclusions based on very little evidence or few experiences.
So question your memories and fears from time to time to see them for what they
And remember Passengers, “Fear IS a liar!”
All Aboard! The LifeTrain!
As I help you board the train I hand you a white business card with black lettering. It simply says…
A designated driver helps you party another day.
Hello LifeTrain passengers, Super Bowl weekend is upon us. For many folks that means celebrating! Office parties, family get-togethers, social outings, etc. Drinking and driving is especially high during this weekend, thus the reason for this discussion.
No sense in putting our heads in the ground like an Ostrich or ignoring the proverbial “White Elephant ” in the room. Time for some real talk. We mentioned celebration and sometimes that celebration is paired with libation which increases chances for DWI’s. It happens, and my prayer is it won’t happen to you or a loved one. Nothing good can come from that. However, things happen, life happens and if you or a loved one is faced with this situation let’s take a look at a conversation I had recently with my good friend, Attorney Ewing Carter III.
Note: Even though I am his athletic and academic superior, I do want to thank the attorney for doing these articles. Trust me, if you ever need a lawyer, these articles will help prepare you for what to expect so…Thank you Attorney Carter for allowing us a peek into the legal world. However, we will note that this is not to be construed as legal advice.
EC III: As for the first part of your opening statement, in your dreams dude in your dreams. However, it is my pleasure to ride and share with you and the passengers here on the LifeTrain…you are doing some good work…especially for a mentally challenged chap like yourself.
Chuckie: Enough of the pleasantries, Tell me sir…How does the law know if I’ve had too much to drink before I drive?
EC III: In most all 50 states, if a person is operating a motor vehicle and their blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 or higher, they can be charged with driving while impaired (DWI) / driving under the influence (DUI). A key consideration is that you can be impaired by any substance you ingest (alcohol, illegal drugs, and even prescription drugs). Generally, the “Officer of the Peace “, (policeman, sheriff, DMV officer, park ranger, etc.) can make the decision to stop and investigate a person, if he/she has a “reasonable suspicion” to believe that the person is driving while subject to an impairing substance. Tell-tale signs are: weaving, speeding, driving too slowly, making too wide of a turn, just to name a few.
Chuckie: What should I do or say if I am stopped for DWI?
EC III: Be as cooperative as possible. The officer will ask for your driver’s license and vehicle registration. He will be developing an opinion about “you” to determine to whether further investigation is warranted. Noted signs of impairment are: slurred speech, obvious odor of alcohol, disheveled clothing, and bloodshot eyes.
Chuckie: If the officer asks me to take a breathalyzer test, should I comply, or refuse?
EC III: The decision is totally yours to make. However, there are some facts to consider
Driving is a privilege, and not a constitutional right. Because driving is a privilege, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) determines under what circumstance a person can operate a motor vehicle along
the road and highways of their state.
If you decide to refuse to take the breath test, the DMV will revoke your privilege to drive for a certain period of time. This revocation is generally for one (1) year. However, obtaining a Driving Privilege in order to drive back and forth to work can be obtained from the Court. In North Carolina, again, if you refuse the breath test, there is a 6-month waiting period before becoming eligible for the Driving Privilege. Conversely, if you take the test, and your BAC in not excessive, then there is no waiting period for the Driving Privilege.
Well passengers, there you have it…Best case scenario, remember this:
The driver is safer when the roads are dry; the roads are safer when the driver is dry. Think of your future, Think of your date, Then think before making that fatal mistake, Don’t Drink and Drive.
Enjoy the game passengers, remember there is now UBER, Lyft and that one guy who takes one for the team…the designated driver.
All Aboard, The LifeTrain!
Hey Passengers, one question that riders often email me about is something that I constantly must deal with myself: How do you break out of a motivational slump?
Well, here’s what help me when I get stuck in that zone.
1. Refocus on doing what YOU really, really like to do.
When you really like doing something then the motivation to do it comes
automatically (most of the time). And when you really want something then it
simply becomes easier to push through any inner resistance you feel.
So if you lose your motivation, ask yourself:
Am I doing what I really want to do?
If not and if possible, refocus and start working on that very important thing
2. Make a list of upsides.
Write down all the benefits you will get from achieving something – no matter
how small – like for example having more energy to use as you deep down want
or having enough money to go that dream vacation.
Save that list and then pull it out of the drawer whenever your motivation is
lacking again and review it. Or put it somewhere where you will see it every day
until you reach your dream.
3. Make a list of downsides.
This is a very effective one. And you can combine it with the list of upsides to give
yourself even more motivation to start moving and get things done.
Ask yourself these two questions:
How will my life look in 5 years if I continue to stay on the same path as now?
How will life likely become worse for me and maybe even for the people
Try to see the negative consequences as vividly as you can in your mind to
kickstart your motivation to get going for that positive change again.
I hope this helps “US” to start the week off “Super Fantastic” and “MOTIVATED!”
All Aboard! The LifeTrain!!!
All Aboard! Hey passengers, hope day two is going well for you. Thought I’d leave you a “Tuesday Tip” to mull over as you listen to some LifeTrain radio, see button upper right.
Here we go. Instead of comparing yourself to other people create the habit of comparing yourself to yourself. See how much you have grown, what you have achieved and what progress you have made towards your goals.
This habit has the benefit of creating gratitude, appreciation, and kindness towards yourself as you observe how far you have come, the obstacles you have overcome and the good stuff you have done. You feel good about yourself without having to think less of other people.
I would like to share one of my favorite thoughts on self-improvement. This short thought comes from Nathaniel Branden’s book The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem and it simply goes like this:
“No one is coming”.
Short. But it has been a powerful and sobering reminder for me. Because yes, you can look for the next big thing that will fix you.
Read more blog articles. Read more personal development books. Look for people to help you. And yes, some articles, books, products or people will
give you support and insights that resonate deeply with you and that you can put into practice.
But in the end, if you are an adult then no one is coming. No one is coming to save you. You have to take responsibility for your own life and what happens in it. Other things and people can certainly aid you quite a bit. But you are responsible.
You can go around blaming society or some people for your problems in your social life. Or finances. Or health. You can always find scapegoats to judge to feel better about yourself. You can look for people that will “fix you”. You can do this for the rest of your life if you like. It won’t change much. Whatever has to be done, it’s you who have to take responsibility and do it.
Yeah, things might always not go your way. You’ll fall and stumble and you will probably have bad luck from time to time.
But you still have to focus on yourself and on doing what you can do with what you have in whatever situation that may arise in your world.
Have a great and self-kind day!
All Aboard! The LifeTrain!
Hey Passengers, I was thinking. We have a tendency to make significant choices in our lives and then forget that we actually made the choice. Work is such a choice. If we forget to choose the work we do then each day of our life can easily be an experience of continuous reluctance. Would you choose to live your life reluctantly? Every time you use the words ˜have to you are telling the universe you would rather not be here you are and you’d rather not do what you are doing at that moment. And if you keep thinking in this way in one area of your life, it becomes a habitual
thought pattern which you soon find turning up in your attitude everywhere in your life. And if you keep thinking, feeling, saying and living with this pattern of reluctance you can be absolutely sure the universe will eventually grant your recurring wish. But you will like the result even less. Nothing positive, fulfilling or empowering was ever created with the energy of reluctance. Donâ€™t be reluctant about anything in your life today. Re-affirm your presence and your choices every day.
“Your intellect may be confused but your emotions will never mislead you.” ~Roger Ebert
“ME!” – Managing Emotions!
All Aboard!! Hey passengers…how bout those pesky emotions we own…
Ah, those pesky emotions! Doesn’t it feel like that sometimes? We all enjoy the positive emotions like love, happiness, pleasure, delight, and confidence. But then their counterparts show up, like anger, sadness, disgust, and fear — and suddenly, emotions are no longer so welcome. Society emphasizes that we can consciously control our emotions rather than letting our emotions control us.
Sounds good, but I prefer the idea that we can work with our emotions. The word “control” smacks of grabbing our emotions by the throat and beating them into submission. It can be easily
misinterpreted (and I think it has been) to mean that emotions, especially the inconvenient negative ones, should be kept locked away in some hidden room. Out of sight, out of mind.
But emotions – all of them – have a purpose and a wisdom. And studies have shown that tapping emotions down or shutting them away can create all kinds of problems, not the least of which are physical health problems. But I recently read that the Hawaiians knew this centuries ago. When the first Westerners came to Hawaii‘in the 19th century, they found a group of people who were almost completely devoid of mental and physiological disease. Why? Because the Hawaiians knew how to work with their unihipili to release stress and their “stuff,” all the repressed emotions and memories. Unihipili is the name the Hawaiians gave the unconscious mind, and its literal translation is “little creature” or “little one.” If you saw something scurrying across the floor you might say, “Oh, look! An unihipili!” The Hawaiians believed that the unconscious mind was a little self that lived inside you.
This little self-had several important jobs, one of which was to help you deal with your emotions. If you experienced something traumatic or
something you didn’t have the tools to understand or process, your unihipili would take the experience and throw it into a metaphorical black bag. Your unihipili then zipped that bag up and stashed it somewhere in your body – but it was never intended to stay hidden away forever.
As the teachers of Huna explained it, later you might consciously recognize that you have a black bag. You might opt to find the black bag and process the emotions within, then let them all go. But at other times, they believed that your unihipili, your unconscious, might decide that you’re ready to let go of the emotions or experiences before you consciously recognized them. So the unihipili would open up the black bag, causing all the emotions to flood into you so you could release them.
Have you ever had that experience? You’re having a good day when – Bam! – sadness, anger, or fear bubbles up. This is a signal from unihipili that “You’re ready to let it go.”
As Westerners, we find that experience pretty disconcerting. We do everything we can think of to “calm down” or “think about something else.” We don’t see the upheaval as a positive signal from the unconscious that we’re ready to resolve the issue, but rather a signal that something is wrong with us. We medicate, we deny, and we avoid. We push those feelings back down below the surface.
But the ancient Hawaiians appreciated the flood of emotion and knew it was healthy and natural. If they felt sad, they would weep; if they felt anger bubble up, they would express it somehow and allow it to dissipate. They had faith that unihipili knew when the time was right, and trusted that they had the tools and techniques to handle it. They didn’t make a big deal out of it. They simply released the black bag and moved forward.
To the Huna way of thinking, the unihipili is working hard to preserve the body, to release anything that could upset the mind-body balance. The
unconscious mind knows that you need to remove the black bags of unreleased negative thoughts and feelings from your neurology before it makes you sick. From the Huna perspective, this is the basis of all physiological disease, not germs or viruses or aging. Disease cannot be explained or fixed on the physical level alone without dealing with the emotional component.
The next time you feel a negative emotion well up inside, try something a little different. Rather than “coping” or ignoring it, take a moment to ask: “What is this trying to show me?” You may or may not get a clear answer. But still give yourself some time to really experience the emotion itself. Find a safe place to give the emotion expression. Then thank your unconscious for helping you to release it.
In closing, as you hop off for another Merry Monday. I’m not saying that what I am posting is 100% right for everyone but, it is something to consider.
ALL ABOARD! The LifeTrain!
Hey Passengers, I hope you’re having a good week so far. Thank you for hopping aboard the Train today! Enjoy the music as you read the posts. See the radio button upper right. Ignore the shop button for now, cart under construction.
Today I’d like to simply share something that helps me to stay calm and sane in the sometimes busy and overwhelming everyday life. It’s a small but effective reminder and it consists of just five words:
One thing at a time.
Now, an obvious way to use this is if you want to stay on track and get things done
effectively at work or in school. And to not get lost in multitasking.
But I have found it to be helpful beyond that.
Try this whenever you are stressed out, when your thoughts are starting to
become negative or when you feel overwhelmed about anything really:
Take a couple of breaths. Focus only on the air going in and out.
Then take one final breath, slowly exhale it and tell yourself these five little words.
This simple thing will make it easier to think again.
To slow down, to find clarity in what you need to do and keep your attention
And you’ll stop wasting much of your limited time and energy on worrying, on
negativity towards yourself and the people in your life and on trying to juggle five
things at once.
All Aboard! The LifeTrain!!!
Expressing gratitude has been shown to do more than improve your mood. People who write down a few positive things about their day are healthier, more energetic, less stressed and anxious, and get better sleep. The key is to make this a regular habit and do it with intention. Think about creating a small gratitude ritual. For example, every morning when you have your coffee you could think of three things that you appreciate about the day before.
Or make it a habit to jot down three good things about your day before you go to bed at night. Your three good things can be really small–perhaps you saw something beautiful or just appreciate being healthy that day. In fact, science shows that it’s the small everyday experiences that make us happier (as compared to big life events.)
Surround yourself with positive people. Happiness is contagious. Dr. Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler, researchers at Harvard and The University of San Diego, found that each additional happy friend increases a person’s probability of being happy by about 9%. If you’re feeling down, reach out to a friend or colleague who generally has a more positive attitude. Our brains have mirror neurons that will literally mimic what the other person is expressing; so when you need a bit of positive infusion, connect with those who share it.
Do regular acts of kindness. Research has shown that spending money on others makes us happier than spending money on ourselves and doing small acts of kindness increases life satisfaction.
Hold the door for the person behind you, say thank you and mean it when you get your drink from the coffee shop, pick up your colleague’s favorite snack and leave it on their desk for them. Even the smallest nice gesture can make someone’s day.
Spend more time with family and friends. Having friends can save your life.
Low social interaction can be as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and is twice as bad for your health as obesity. Even if you’re busy you can find ways to connect with people you care about. Use your lunch break as an opportunity to call a friend or, if possible, take a walk together. If you’re busy during the week, how about inviting your friend to do some errands together on the weekend?
Spend money on experiences instead of things. Research shows people report feeling happier when they spend their money on experiences rather than objects. We remember experiences for a longer period of time and our brains can re-live them, making our positive emotions last longer. So instead of that new pair of jeans consider trying a new yoga class or inviting a friend to the movies with you.
Not a sermon…Just some thoughts…
All Aboard! The LifeTrain!