GUILTFREE WAYS TO SAY NO

Saying No for the Sake of Your Wallet

Request: A friend in need asks for loan.
What you should say: “I wish I can but as a rule, I don’t lend money to friends.”
Why it works: So its clear you did not single out this person as untrustworthy.

You shouldn’t feel guilty: Lending any amount of money can cause problems, says the communications trainer Don Gabor. It changes nature of relationship if the person doesn’t pay you back.”
Avoid the situation in the future: Never lend money to friends, you won’t get reputation as a Mobile Bank ATM. 9f8eab4c34bbdd4065c5809378443d16

Request: A coworker wants you to chip in $25 for gift for colleague you would not recognize at the watercooler.

You should say: “Oh, I’ve never really had a conversation with Ian. I think I’ll wish him a happy birthday in person.”
Why it works: Chances are, the person taking donations has no idea how close you are (or are not) with the intended recipient. By clarifying nature of your relationship emphasises intention to get to know the person better. So you come across as thoughtful rather than cheap.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: A gift is not a gift if an obligation, says etiquette writers Kim Izzo and Ceri Marsh.
Avoid the situation in the future: If workplace gift giving is getting out of hand, take the lead in restoring sanity by circulating a card before someone can break out the gift-donation plate. Make sure others know you don’t expect anything on your birthday.How-to-say-no-to-your-boss-politelyRequest: Your third cousin asks to bring her boyfriend-of-the-month to your $150-a-plate wedding reception.

What you should say: “We’ve already had to make so many tough decisions to get the guest list down to size. We really can’t squeeze in/afford another guest. But I would love to have you two over for drinks sometime so I can meet him.”
Why it works: If you illuminate some of behind-the-scenes planning, cousin may get clue of inappropriateness of request.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: It’s your party and your pocketbook, says author Patti Breitman.
Avoid the situation in the future: Make calls before you put together the guest list to see the new additions you should consider as you plan.sayno

Saying No for the Sake of Your Time

Request: You are offered a promotion that you don’t want. Though it means more money, it demands more hours or more of what boss calls responsibility and you call tedium.
What you should say: “I’m flattered that you want me, but for personal reasons I’m not in a situation where I can take this on. Perhaps in a year from now things will be different. Can we talk again if my circumstances change?”
Why it works: If in enviable dilemma boss will understand you have personal priorities that take precedence.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: By saying no to more time at the office, you’re saying yes to other things you cherish, long walks alone at sunset or evening time with your children.
Avoid the situation in the future: “If a position opens up at your workplace, you could let it be known that you are not in the running,” Breitman suggests. Being forthright saves your manager the trouble of pursuing a candidate who isn’t interested.maxresdefault (4)

Request: You are asked to coordinate bake sale again at your child’s school.
What you should say: “I know I am going to disappoint you, but I’ve decided not to volunteer this year, because I will feel stressed. Is there any way to get some of the other parents to step up?”
Why it works: People feel manipulated into doing something like The ice cream social won’t happen without your help! If address the problematic pattern of one person’s doing all the work, you sidestep manipulation. If you say no, it force others never get asked to say yes.
You shouldn’t feel guilty: “You’ve done your fair share, and now others can do this job,” says Robinson.
Avoid the situation in the future: Encourage school leaders to present the problem to all parents,” says Robinson. “If people know an important program may fail, usually remedy situation.maxresdefault (3)Request: If invited to distant relative’s annual Lobster Lua, 14th year in row.

You should say: “I’ve really had fun in the past, but I can’t make it this year. That week is already packed for me.”
Why it works: “You’ve explained it in a way that doesn’t sound like a personal rejection,” says Robinson. “And you’ve asked for understanding, based on your need to take stress out of your schedule. Everyone can identify with that.”
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: You have only so much free time―and so much tolerance for flying lobster goo. “Don’t R.S.V.P. yes, then back out at the last minute or, worse, not show up at all,” say Izzo and Marsh. “That is the least decorous way of handling invite.”
Avoid the situation in the future: In a note, thank the relative for thinking of you and explain that because you tend to be busy at this time of year, he should feel free to take you off his invite list.maxresdefault (2)

Request: Boss asks you to supervise this season’s intern last seen with feet up on a desk, iPod on, Gameboy in hand.
What you should say: “Wow, that’s an interesting project. I’m really busy with the ABC assignment right now, so let me know if you want me to re-prioritize.”
Why it works: “Asking boss to prioritize tasks for you means so do not have to actually say “no,” Breitman says. If told to just squeeze the new task in, then do it. But keep a list of all the extra work you’ve done for your next review.
You shouldn’t feel guilty: You really do have enough work to do as it is.
Avoid the situation in the future: If extra tasks keep getting dumped on your desk, ask your boss for a meeting. Explain that the added assignments are making it hard to do your primary job properly. Ask if she wants to review your job description and renegotiate your salary while she’s at it.  AAEAAQAAAAAAAANxAAAAJDczZjg2NDEyLTE1Y2QtNDllNi1hNjIwLWY2MzgyYzc0YTA2Mg

Say No for the Sake of Your Sanity

Request: A friend asks to borrow car because own in shop to repair dent got while driving, talking on phone, and unwrapping juice-box straw.
What you should say: “I do not lend anything worth more than $1,000.” Try to avoid “I don’t have insurance for a non-family member, insurance policies cover the car, not specific drivers. If friend got into accident, it could make your premium go up. If you have time, offer her a ride instead.
Why it works: “Avoid blame on you,” explains author Patti Breitman. “Don’t indicate you don’t trust the friend.”
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: “Your car is probably the first or second most valuable thing you own,” says Breitman. “You’re protecting a big financial asset.” Plus, if friend gets accident relationship might be totalled, too.
Avoid the situation in the future: Let your friends know that while you’re typically a generous lender (“Of course you can borrow my snorkeling gear!”), your car is off-limits. Say-NO-pic

Request: A guest offers to bring seven-layer dip to party. But doesn’t really go with Greek theme you planned.
What you should say: “What a kind offer thank you. I have already planned the menu, but do you have any dietary restrictions I should know about? Be nice and ask to bringing something, like bottle of wine or a loaf of bread.
Why it works: Acknowledging the offer of generosity let person know did all they could. If the person has dietary restrictions so cooking difficult for you, relent and let bring a dish to eat.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: Person offered to be courteous. Saying no, you gives license to relax, enjoy hospitality.
Avoid the situation in the future: When you invite people, ask if there is anything they don’t eat, because you want to make sure your menu works for everyone. Emphasize the word menu, so people know that you have a plan or a theme for the meal (and so they won’t try to upset it).thumbs-down

Request: Future sister-in-law wants to throw baby shower you don’t want fuss.
What you should say: “I really don’t want a party, but thank you so much for offering. Why don’t we splurge on visit to a day spa instead?”
Why it works: “Not everyone likes a party in honour or wants to be center of attention with a paper plate of bows on her head,” says etiquette writers Kim Izzo and Ceri Marsh. Unless she has her own agenda, she should understand.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: “If you decline, you are taking away pleasure from the people who care about you, but it is occasion to shout about or be quiet about,” say Izzo and Marsh.
Avoid the situation in the future: Announce what you would prefer to do instead of a shower before anyone offers to throw one.

 

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GETTING RID OF SPIDERS

1. Squish it with a tissue

This is the easiest, and most common, way to kill a spider. Squish it in a tissue, and then throw it away in a trash/flush it down the toilet. Easy.

2. Step on it with boot

If the spider is bigger than like, oh, a dime, your best bet might be to get a large and heavy boot, put boot on, and SQUISH IT WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT.how-to-get-rid-of-spiders-in-bedroom-how-to-safely-get-rid-of-spiders-from-your-house-top-10-home-ideas-768x512

3. Place a cup over it

Maybe there’s a small pain in your heart every time you a kill a bug, because bugs are living things, too. So maybe you decided to corral the spider underneath a cup, and hope it can’t get any air (how do spiders breath?) and it slowly suffocates underneath your blue kitchen cup. BE SURE TO PUT THIS CUP IN THE DISHWASHER.

4. Call someone to help

Maybe you don’t want to kill the bug, but you want someone else to. Grab that cup, place it over the spider, and then wait until your significant other/a friend/the cable repair man comes over and you’re like “Hey, so I’ve got this spider underneath this cup…”

5. Vacuum it up Hoover

Do you not want to touch the spider whatsoever, but want to get rid of it ASAP? You know that vacuum you’ve got in your kitchen closet? Detach the hose, and suck that little sucker right up (and then give it an appropriate amount of time, so you know the spider is 100% dead, and empty your vacuum out).spider_chart

6. Spray it with Raid

Raid was invented to kill bugs so using a spray or two (or a whole can) of Raid on eight-legged beast should do the trick.

7. Spray with hairspray

Do you not have Raid, because last time you were at Target you were like, “Ugh, why is Raid so expensive? Something that kills spiders should be FREE!” If you don’t have Raid, hairspray usually does a pretty good job of immobilizing spiders. Not that I’ve killed a lot of spiders with expensive frizz-control hairspray before.

8. Douse it with water

Some spiders comes out of nowhere and if worried that it’ll get away before you can get a tissue/a shoe/Raid, all you’ve got is a cup of water. THROW THAT CUP OF WATER OVER THE SPIDER! SPIDERS CANNOT SWIM! Don’t do this, while sitting on your couch. That’s a bad idea.

9. Use paper & throw out

This one is hard. First, you need a piece of paper, and then you need to be brave enough to get close enough to the spider and hope and pray it makes it onto the piece of paper, and doesn’t scurry away in the opposite direction. Then you need to walk towards a window, once again hoping and praying that the spider doesn’t start crawling on the paper towards you, and maybe to your hand, and then up your arm, and oh boy. Actually, don’t try this one at home.

10. Ignore & hope it dies

No time like present to start symbiotic relationship with the spider! Whatever you do, DO NOT SET FIRE TO SPIDER INDOORS!!! It may crawl burning and spread the fire to set house on fire as recently happened in America. Pin the spider through with a fork or a kebab stick firmly while wearing gloves to be safe if poisonous and burn safely sealed in a container outside. If bitten some spiders must be preserved to show the medics to help identify type of spider for a correct antidote. So do not let fear overcome you to be frightened or panic to let anxiety set in and miss the spider.

11. Scream for help

This one will not actually do anything to spider but hope neighbours come to your aid.

SPARE THE ROD SPOIL CHILD

Smacking (actors)Smacking ban goes to public consultation. Plans to outlaw beating, slapping, kicking, smacking, spanking, whipping children in Wales are going out to a three-month consultation. The ministers said removing the defence of reasonable punishment would make it clear smacking is no longer acceptable. Charities including the NSPCC said this would bring Wales in line with dozens of other countries. But campaigners against the law fear it could criminalise ordinary parents. Minister for Children and Social Care, Huw Irranca-Davies, said: “As a parent of three boys myself, I know being a parent can sometimes be a challenging experience. “Our knowledge of what children need to grow and thrive has developed considerably over the last 20 years. We now know that physical punishment can have negative long-term impacts on a child’s life chances and we also know it is an ineffective punishment.”

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Discipline is meted out by using alternative methods like, “grounding” punishment which means the child stays at home so cannot meet up with friends to go to cinema, party, or sleep over. The child’s privileges like toys, games, computers, phones taken away or asked to stay alone isolated in their bedroom. Others sit in a corner alone for 5 minute to 15 minutes within sight of the adult to stay there based on their age  This helps calm a child down and diffuses tension but the child enjoys TV in bedroom or favourite toys, phone, computer, are taken away for a few days or months depending on what the child did. This happens often so some parents feel it is better than physically hitting them with a stick. Some do not have toys or own bedroom so parents find other ways like asking them to do chores they do not like to do to teach them a lesson. In other extreme cases the child may pay for items deliberately damaged in anger with pocket-money or mow the garden and lawn.

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Scotland became the first part of the UK to confirm plans to outlaw smacking children last year. Now ministers in Wales want parents to choose “positive and more effective methods.”Some people think carrots and sticks are choices that makes a difference depending on preference. The “rule of the thumb laws” made by Parliament allowed husband’s to beat their wives with a stick the size of their thumb. God help the woman whose husband has the biggest thumb, you will not want to rub the wrong way. The proposed law would not involve creating a new offence but would instead remove the defence to the existing offences of assault and battery. So, any adult looking after a child would no longer be able to use physical or corporal punishment against them. Physical punishment has already been outlawed in schools and childcare facilities but Mr Irranca-Davies said it was time “to ensure it is no longer acceptable anywhere.”

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The Welsh Government is now allowed to legislate in areas of parental discipline, under the new Wales Act. The consultation runs until 2 April. The Bible says correct the child in love and not in anger because God Corrects those HE LOVES. So explain to the child you are not in a bad mood or hate them. Discipline must be done in context and effective against their behaviour. Mixed messages from parents does not clearly teach them why it is wrong to do something being punished and educate them on the effects of their action on their reputation, others and their peers and society in general. Safely nip the bad behaviour in the bud before it grows out of hand and becomes toxic and destructive. A lot of adults missed out on proper discipline as God said train the child so when they grow they will not depart from it. Children need to understand that discipline corrects and challenges bad behaviour so is not a negative cruel wicked vitriol. God tell parents in Bible not to provoke their children to anger so are to raise children to have consideration for others.семейное-отношение-14317792

A recent TV documentary experimented the carrot and stick approach to see which was more effective. One group was harsh, relentless, no fun, almost military training style of elite soldiers. The other group observed a laissez faire approach, liberal, praising them, mingling appropriately. Both groups performed almost the same without any extra head start or advantage over the other. In extreme cases where a child’s life or others are at risk, a meaningful discipline method is age appropriate and does not ‘hurt’ physically or kill them as happens sometimes. The stress and despair of the parents must never be put upon or projected on to the children. Parents with any psychological problems must seek therapy and not vent their anger on the children by harsh punishment in anger. In extreme cases children’s hands are cut off as punishment for working too slowly or taking and eating food without first asking permission. Sometimes the health of children must be taken into account for suitable punishment. To stop lawlessness, recklessness of society children need discipline important for their future self-discipline to live peacefully with others in community. 1.1994526-1

In Ghana the High Court ruled against smacking so children write apology letters. The Ho Polytechnic Basic School has instituted the writing of apology letters to replace corporal punishment in the school. Pupils now write apology letters, after a written report on the misdemeanor. So what does it mean to “spare the rod and spoil the child? This phrase “spare the rod and spoil the child means modern-day methods imply that if parents refuse to discipline unruly child the child will grow accustomed too set in ways too late to their change bad behaviour. Proverbs 13:24 says whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who corrects them loves them. This is not a licence for aggression and abuse of children for the slightest reason. Children lack FRONTAL CORTEX so do not fully understand life. So take time to make simple easy to understand visual images with rules to REMIND children. This can prevent forgetting rules and children will comply if the know the reasons why they are disciplined. Patents must set good examples to children.

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Afterwards, explain again why disciplined, ask for apology from the child, hug and tell child you love them as is done in the UK.  Children mimic and copy adults so some behaviours reflect on the environment and the actions of the adults who need to set better examples and not pick on children mirroring their behaviour. Parent child bonding must not be destroyed by aggressive discipline or lack of discipline. The Bible says those who love their children care enough to discipline them. Whoever spares the rod hates child, but loves child if diligent to discipline child. A lot of brat, rude, bad behaviour can be traced to children left to own devices who grow up as Dennis the menace to society and untouchable majesty the child doted on by parents who think their beloved children do no wrong. This sensitive matter means each side is equally passionate about their approach. The danger is social workers called because of discipline the law ‘criminalise’ parents for training children for their own good. Yet some grow up and freely hit by batons for undealt with childhood issues. Caring-Adult_woman-high-five-boy_web Bible says the if a child listens and is disciplined that child lives long and it is well with that child. So discipline is not to inflict punishment for cruelty but to train a child into an upstanding valuable member of society. The purpose of discipline is to teach a child to understand the human rules and laws of society to fit in as an adult. Therefore unbred child will find the world harder than the child carefully trained from home to be self- aware and have self discipline and self respect. The world is full of untrained adults who act like children and have to nannied and apprenticed when they should be leaders helping other. The chaos in society and communities is because some have festered unruly children never disciplined because of saying ” it hurts the parent too much to inflict pain” on a child. A trust worthy child is trained to fear God and respect fellow human beings and follow the golden rule. Vilifying parents for any form of discipline sends the wrong message to children who will grow up to make similar decisions in future.

DEPRESSED MUMS SINGING

Mum singing to babySinging speeds up’ recovery from post-natal depression. Singing helps mothers recover from post-natal or post partum depression more quickly study suggests. Researchers found women who took part in group singing sessions with their babies experienced much faster improvement in their symptoms than those who did not. The study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, looked at 134 mothers with post-natal depression. Early recovery is seen to be crucial to limit effects on mother and baby. Post-natal depression is estimated to affect one in eight new mothers. And previous studies have indicated singing can help improve the mental health of older people and those with dementia, but this is the first controlled study of its effect on post-natal depression. The women were placed into three groups:Mother and baby music group
  • one took part in group singing
  • another took part in in creative play sessions
  • a third group received their usual care, which could include family support, antidepressants or mindfulness

The singing workshops saw the mothers learning lullabies and songs from around the world with their babies and creating new songs together about motherhood. And those with moderate to severe symptoms of post-natal depression reported a much faster improvement than mothers in the usual care and play groups. All the groups improved over the 10 weeks, but in the first six weeks, singing group already reported an average 35% decrease in depressive symptoms. The Principal investigator Dr Rosie Perkins said the study, although small, was significant because it was important to tackle the symptoms as quickly as possible. “Post-natal depression is debilitating for the mothers and their families. As research indicates some women think accessible singing with their baby helps speed up recovery at one of the most vulnerable times of their lives,” she said. The lead author Dr Daisy Fancourt at University College London, said singing is another useful therapy to offer women. babies with musical instrumentsMany mothers have concerns about taking depression medication whilst breast-feeding and uptake of psychological therapies with new mothers is relatively low,” she said. “These results are really exciting as suggests something as simple as referring mothers to this community activities could support their recovery.” Dr Trudi Seneviratne, who chairs the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Perinatal Faculty, said: “It’s exciting to hear about the growing evidence base for novel psychosocial interventions like singing to facilitate a more rapid recovery for women with post-natal depression. “I look forward to more work in this area in the future, as it will be enjoyed by both mothers and their babies.”Since the study, Breathe Arts Health Research has started running singing workshops in partnership with the Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust for women with post-natal depression across the south London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark. Community and socialising helps overcome isolation and loneliness of new mothers. The feel good factor of singing with the babies is definitely a win- win situation lifting the mood and going out of the home helps to lift their spirit too. Isolated mothers can organise own singing sessions with friends in communities and their babies benefit too from a calm, happy, relaxed mother. If child raising is recognised or considered as a valid hardwork and to celebrate mothers and carers the world will become a better and safer place. So families must be prioritised and to help mother’s like Finland pays both parents to raise their children. Depression is caused by loneliness, pressure, stress of modern living without extended family support and children become depressed too. So it is good news to help mother’s and also to improve motherhood as an honourable collaboration with God’s idea to multiply to replenish the earth.

THE CAUSES OF DEPRESSION

The authors conferred, and they decided that there would be a special clause added to the list of symptoms of depression. None of this applies, they said, if you have lost somebody you love in the past year. In that situation, all these symptoms are natural, and not a disorder. It was called “the grief exception”, and it seemed to resolve the problem. Then, as the years and decades passed, doctors on the frontline started to come back with another question. All over the world, they were being encouraged to tell patients that depression is, in fact, just the result of a spontaneous chemical imbalance in your brain it is produced by low serotonin, or a natural lack of some other chemical. It’s not caused by your life it’s caused by your broken brain. Some of the doctors began to ask how this fitted with the grief exception. If you agree that the symptoms of depression are a logical and understandable response to one set of life circumstances losing a loved one might they not be an understandable response to other situations? What about if you lose your job? What if you are stuck in a job that you hate for the next 40 years? What about if you are alone and friendless?1296x728_depression_and_memory_lossDrug companies would fund huge numbers of studies and then only release the ones that showed success. The grief exception seemed to have blasted a hole in the claim that the causes of depression are sealed away in your skull. It suggested that there are causes out here, in the world, and they needed to be investigated and solved there. This was a debate that mainstream psychiatry (with some exceptions) did not want to have. So, they responded in a simple way – by whittling away the grief exception. With each new edition of the manual they reduced the period of grief that you were allowed before being labelled mentally ill – down to a few months and then, finally, to nothing at all. Now, if your baby dies at 10am, your doctor can diagnose you with a mental illness at 10.01am and start drugging you straight away. Dr Joanne Cacciatore, of Arizona State University, became a leading expert on the grief exception after her own baby, Cheyenne, died during childbirth. She had seen many grieving people being told that they were mentally ill for showing distress. 0084254001422867528_461504_600x458_actualno

She told me this debate reveals a key problem with how we talk about depression, anxiety and other forms of suffering: we don’t, she said, “consider context.” We act like human distress can be assessed solely on a checklist that can be separated out from our lives, and labelled as brain diseases. If we started to take people’s actual lives into account when we treat depression and anxiety, Joanne explained, it would require “an entire system overhaul”. She told me that when “you have a person with extreme human distress, [we need to] stop treating the symptoms. The symptoms are a messenger of a deeper problem. Let’s get to the deeper problem.” I was a teenager when I swallowed my first antidepressant. I was standing in the weak English sunshine, outside a pharmacy in a shopping centre in London. The tablet was white and small, and as I swallowed, it felt like a chemical kiss. That morning I had gone to see my doctor and I had told him crouched, embarrassed that pain was leaking out of me uncontrollably, like a bad smell, and I had felt this way for several years. In reply, he told me a story. There is a chemical called serotonin that makes people feel good, he said, and some people are naturally lacking it in their brains. You are clearly one of those people. There are now, thankfully, new drugs that will restore your serotonin level to that of a normal person. Take them, and you will be well. At last, I understood what had been happening to me, and why. However, a few months into my drugging, something odd happened.do-you-be-able-yo-explain-the-real-causes-of-diseases-from-genetic-5-638

The pain started to seep through again. Before long, I felt as bad as I had at the start. I went back to my doctor, and he told me that I was clearly on too low a dose. And so, 20 milligrams became 30 milligrams; the white pill became blue. I felt better for several months. And then the pain came back through once more. My dose kept being jacked up, until I was on 80mg, where it stayed for many years, with only a few short breaks. And still the pain broke back through. I started to research my book, Lost Connections: Uncovering The Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions, because I was puzzled by two mysteries. Why was I still depressed when I was doing everything I had been told to do? I had identified the low serotonin in my brain, and I was boosting my serotonin levels – yet I still felt awful. But there was a deeper mystery still. Why were so many other people across the western world feeling like me? Around one in five US adults are taking at least one drug for a psychiatric problem. In Britain, antidepressant prescriptions have doubled in a decade, to the point where now one in 11 of us drug ourselves to deal with these feelings. What has been causing depression and its twin, anxiety, to spiral in this way? I began to ask myself: could it really be that in our separate heads, all of us had brain chemistries that spontaneously malfunctioning at the same time?07depressionTo find the answers, I ended up going on a 40,000-mile journey across the world and back. I talked to the leading social scientists investigating these questions, and to people who have been overcoming depression in unexpected ways – from an Amish village in Indiana, to a Brazilian city that banned advertising and a laboratory in Baltimore conducting a startling wave of experiments. From these people, I learned the best scientific evidence about what really causes depression and anxiety. They taught me that it is not what we have been told it is up to now. I found there is evidence that seven specific factors in the way we are living today are causing depression and anxiety to rise alongside two real biological factors (such as your genes) that can combine with these forces to make it worse. Once I learned this, I was able to see that a very different set of solutions to my depression and to our depression waiting for me all along. To understand this different way of thinking, though, I had to first investigate the old story, the one that had given me so much relief at first. Professor Irving Kirsch at Harvard University is the Sherlock Holmes of chemical antidepressants the man who has scrutinised the evidence about giving drugs to depressed and anxious people most closely in the world. In the 1990s, he prescribed chemical antidepressants to his patients with confidence. asian-man-yawning-and-sleepy-at-work-4k-resolution_emg5iw6cqx_thumbnail-full01He knew the published scientific evidence, and it was clear: it showed that 70% of people who took them got significantly better. He began to investigate this further, and put in a freedom of information request to get the data that the drug companies had been privately gathering into these drugs. He was confident that he would find all sorts of other positive effects but then he bumped into something peculiar. We all know that when you take selfies, you take 30 pictures, throw away the 29 where you look bleary-eyed or double-chinned, and pick out the best one to be your Tinder profile picture. It turned out that the drug companies who fund almost all research into these drugs were taking this approach to studying chemical antidepressants. They would fund huge numbers of studies, throw away all the ones that suggested the drugs had very limited effects, and then only release the ones that showed success. To give one example: in one trial, the drug was given to 245 patients, but the drug company published the results for only 27 of them. Those 27 patients happened to be the ones the drug seemed to work for. Suddenly, Professor Kirsch realised that the 70% figure couldn’t be right155771072

It turns out that between 65 and 80% of people on antidepressants are depressed again within a year. I had thought that I was freakish for remaining depressed while on these drugs. In fact, Kirsch explained to me in Massachusetts, I was totally typical. These drugs are having a positive effect for some people but they clearly can’t be the main solution for the majority of us, because we’re still depressed even when we take them. At the moment, we offer depressed people a menu with only one option on it. I certainly don’t want to take anything off the menu but I realised, as I spent time with him, that we would have to expand the menu. This led Professor Kirsch to ask a more basic question, one he was surprised to be asking. How do we know depression is even caused by low serotonin at all? When he began to dig, it turned out that the evidence was strikingly shaky. Professor Andrew Scull of Princeton, writing in the Lancet, explained that attributing depression to spontaneously low serotonin is “deeply misleading and unscientific”. Dr David Healy told me: “There was never any basis for it, ever. It was just marketing copy.”

A doctor writing a prescription

I didn’t want to hear this. Once you settle into a story about your pain, you are extremely reluctant to challenge it. It was like a leash I had put on my distress to keep it under some control. I feared that if I messed with the story I had lived with for so long, the pain would run wild, like an unchained animal. Yet the scientific evidence was showing me something clear, and I couldn’t ignore it. So, what is really going on? When I interviewed social scientists all over the world from São Paulo to Sydney, from Los Angeles to London I started to see an unexpected picture emerge. We all know that every human being has basic physical needs: for food, for water, for shelter, for clean air. It turns out that, in the same way, all humans have certain basic psychological needs. We need to feel we belong. We need to feel valued. We need to feel we’re good at something. We need to feel we have a secure future. And there is growing evidence that our culture isn’t meeting those psychological needs for many perhaps most people. I kept learning that, in very different ways, we have become disconnected from things we really need, and this deep disconnection is driving this epidemic of depression and anxiety all around us. Let’s look at one of those causes, and one of the solutions we can begin to see if we understand it differently. There is strong evidence that human beings need to feel their lives are meaningful that they are doing something with purpose that makes a difference. It’s a natural psychological need. But between 2011 and 2012, the polling company Gallup conducted the most detailed study ever carried out of how people feel about the thing we spend most of our waking lives doing paid work.

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They found that 13% of people say they are “engaged” in their work they find it meaningful and look forward to it. 63% say they are “not engaged”, which is defined as “sleepwalking through their workday so 24% are “actively disengaged”they hate it. Antidepressant prescriptions have doubled over the last decade. Most depressed and anxious people I know, I realised, are in the 87% who don’t like their work. I started to dig around to see if there is any evidence that this might be related to depression. It turned out that a breakthrough had been made in answering this question in the 1970s, by an Australian scientist called Michael Marmot. He wanted to investigate what causes stress in the workplace and believed he’d found the perfect lab in which to discover the answer: the British civil service, based in Whitehall. This small army of bureaucrats was divided into 19 different layers, from the permanent secretary at the top, down to the typists. What he wanted to know, at first, was: who’s more likely to have a stress-related heart attack the big boss at the top, or somebody below him? Everybody told him: you’re wasting your time. Obviously, the boss is going to be more stressed because he’s got more responsibility. But when Marmot published his results, he revealed the truth to be the exact opposite. The lower an employee ranked in the hierarchy, the higher their stress levels and likelihood of having a heart attack. Now he wanted to know: why? And that’s when, after two more years studying civil servants, he discovered the biggest factor. It turns out if you have no control over your work, you are far more likely to become stressed and crucially, depressed humans have an innate need to feel what is done day-to-day, is meaningful. When you are controlled, you can’t create meaning out of your work. Suddenly, the depression of many of my friends, even those in fancy jobs who spend most of waking hours feeling controlled and unappreciated started to look not at problem with their brains but a problem with environments. DSjrsX3W4AAzwwADiscovered, many causes of depression in my journey about finding the reasons why we feel so bad. The core was about finding out how we can feel better how we can find real and lasting antidepressants that work for most of us, beyond only the packs of pills we have been offered as often the sole item on the menu for the depressed and anxious. I kept thinking about what Dr Cacciatore said deal with the deeper problems are causing all this distress. I found the beginnings of an answer to the epidemic of meaningless work in Baltimore. Meredith Mitchell used to wake up every morning with her heart racing with anxiety. She dreaded her office job. So she took a bold step – one that lots of people thought was crazy. Her husband, Josh, and their friends had worked for years in a bike store, where they were ordered around and constantly felt insecure, Most of them were depressed. One day, they decided to set up their own bike store, but they wanted to run it differently. Instead of having one guy at the top giving orders would run it as a democratic co-operative. This meant they would make decisions collectively, they would share out the best and worst jobs and they would all, together, be the boss. It would be like a busy democratic tribe. When I went to their store Baltimore Bicycle Works the staff explained how, in this different environment, their persistent depression and anxiety had largely lifted. It’s not that their individual tasks had changed much. They fixed bikes before; they fix bikes now. But they had dealt with the unmet psychological needs that were making them feel so bad by giving themselves autonomy and control over their work.f6gu4kjvmomhwypo9ytj.jpg

Josh had seen for himself that depressions are very often, as he put it, “rational reactions to the situation, not some kind of biological break”. He told me there is no need to run businesses anywhere in the old humiliating, depressing way we could move together, as a culture, to workers controlling their own workplaces. With each of the nine causes of depression and anxiety I learned about, I kept being taught facts and arguments that forced me to think differently. Professor John Cacioppo of Chicago University taught me being acutely lonely is as stressful as being punched in the face by a stranger and massively increases your risk of depression. Dr Vincent Felitti in San Diego showed me that surviving severe childhood trauma makes you 3,100% likely to suffer depression as an adult. Professor Michael Chandler in Vancouver explained to me that if a community feels it has no control over big decisions affecting it, the suicide rate will shoot up. This new evidence forces us to seek out a very different kind of solution to our despair crisis. One person in particular helped me to unlock how to think about this. In the early days of the 21st century, a South African psychiatrist named Derek Summerfeld went to Cambodia, at a time when antidepressants were first being introduced there. He began to explain the concept to the doctors he met. They listened patiently and then told him they didn’t need these new antidepressants, because they already had anti-depressants that work. He assumed they were talking about some kind of herbal remedy. He asked them to explain, and they told him about a rice farmer they knew whose left leg was blown off by a landmine. He was fitted with a new limb, but he felt constantly anxious about the future, and was filled with despair. The doctors sat with him, and talked through his troubles so post partum requires help.

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They realised that even with his new artificial limb, his old job working in the rice paddies was leaving him constantly stressed and in physical pain, and that was making him want to just stop living. So they had an idea. They believed that if he became a dairy farmer, he could live differently. So they bought him a cow. In the months and years that followed, his life changed. His depression which had been profound went away. “You see, doctor,” they told him, the cow was an “antidepressant.” To them, finding an antidepressant didn’t mean finding a way to change your brain chemistry. It meant finding a way to solve the problem that was causing the depression in the first place. We can do the same. Some of these solutions are things we can do as individuals, in our private lives. Some require bigger social shifts, which we can only achieve together, as citizens. But all of them require us to change our understanding of what depression and anxiety really are. This is radical, but it is not, I discovered, a maverick position. In its official statement for World Health Day in 2017, the United Nations reviewed the best evidence and concluded that “the dominant biomedical narrative of depression” is based on “biased and selective use of research outcomes” that “must be abandoned”. We need to move from “focusing on ‘chemical imbalances’”, they said, to focusing more on “power imbalances.de545d9acba05f4a7e96f64bd08ecffe

I learned all this, and what it means for us all, I started to long for the power to go back in time and speak to my teenage self on the day he was told a story about his depression that was going to send him off in the wrong direction for so many years. I wanted to tell him: “This pain you are feeling is not a pathology. It’s not crazy. It is a signal that your natural psychological needs are not being met. It is a form of grief – for yourself, and for the culture you live in going so wrong. I know how much it hurts. I know how deeply it cuts you. But you need to listen to this signal. We all need to listen to the people around us sending out this signal. It is telling you what is going wrong. It is telling you that you need to be connected in so many deep and stirring ways that you aren’t yet but you can be, one day.” If you are depressed and anxious, you are not a machine with malfunctioning parts. You are a human being with unmet needs. The only real way out of our epidemic of despair is for all of us, together, to begin to meet those human needs for deep connection, to the things that really matter in life.

This is an edited extract from Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari, published by Bloomsbury on 11 January (£16.99). To order a copy for £14.44 go to guardianbookshop.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99. It will be available in audio at audible.co.uk

FOOD IS YOUR MEDICINE

A North Carolina Gospel Minister Sows Seeds of Hope in a Food Desert in USA. The Reverend Richard Joyner of Conetoe Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Conetoe, NC, exhorts his congregants to strengthen their community. First, the Reverend Richard Joyner got mad. Then he got a trowel. Sick and tired of seeing his congregation suffer from poor nutrition, the North Carolina minister sowed seeds of hope in a food desert. ABOUT A DECADE AGO, the Reverend Richard Joyner of Conetoe Chapel Missionary Baptist Church realized he ministered to a congregation of people often hungry and living in poverty but never complained. He came up with an ingenious use of land that helped keep the young ones involved in learning about nature first hand. The Church members unfamiliar with farming in the city are educated on how to grow own good produce.  The pastor found it difficult to comfort grieving or contain his outrage: “How do you tell someone who’s just lost a child to poor nutrition that this was God’s plan when it was totally preventable? Who would hang out with that God?” Each Sunday, Joyner felt like a hypocrite, urging congregants to worship a deity he doubted. During the week, he was forced to confront the community’s health problems constantly as a hospital chaplain. After one particularly trying hospital shift, Joyner pulled his car over and began to pray. “I heard a voice saying, ‘Open your eyes and look around,’” the 64-year-old remembers. All he saw was farmland. His parents and grandparents had been share- croppers; his great-grandparents, slaves. That moment fields blanketing Edgecombe County represented not untapped opportunity but a painful reminder of the region’s racist past.

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Young people enjoy outdoors activity so this roadside epiphany directly inspired the church’s now-bustling nonprofit agriculture and education center might construct a tidy narrative. It would, however, be inaccurate. Back in 2005, when Joyner first equipped area youth with seeds and spades on a borrowed plot down the road, he simply hoped to engage kids at summer camp. The campers consumed their initial harvest, but the following year, they started delivering free boxes of ‘Hen Pecked’ mustard greens, ‘Puerto Rican Red’ sweet potatoes and the vegetables to local senior citizens. “One 97-year-old lady, she was so excited, she kissed the children,” Joyner says. “That was the first time in a long time I witnessed anybody speaking a blessing over our troubled children.” Not everyone welcomes bounty. Only a generation or two removed from sharecropping, some church elders questioned the wisdom of participating in any sort of agrarian pursuit. They remained uncomfortably familiar with Edgecombe County’s role in the South’s antebellum cotton economy. Henry Toole Clark, a Civil War–era governor of North Carolina, owned a vast plantation—and dozens of slaves here. Joyner explains prevailing concern: “Do we really want our kids going back to that?” He empathized. Then again, he’d witnessed satisfaction junior parishioners derived from the soil. Less encumbered by Conetoe’s complicated history, they were free to dig in the dirt. “They’re bringing food to people who need it,” Joyner says. “They enjoy the process. They’re playing out there.” Meanwhile, various activities on the farm like preparing beds, selecting seeds, tending crops, selling produce, tracking digital data impart valuable lessons in science, technology, exercise, economics, math, and nutrition.IMG_20180106_150511

NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS

woman running in mountainsPeople make New Year’s resolutions to keep fit and pray more, read Bible every day, attend church regularly. These are fantastic goals yet New Year resolutions fail as often as non-spiritual resolutions because there is no power in New Year’s resolution. Resolving to start, stop doing certain activity has no value unless with proper motivation to stop or start that activity. For example, why do you want to read Bible every day? Is it to honour God and grow spiritually or because you feel and heard it is good to do so? Why do you want to lose weight? Is it to honour God with your body or is it for vanity to honour self-image, to impress others to find you more attractive to fall in love? Is it for a genuine reason to lose weight if delivered of baby? Isaiah 65:17 says behold God will create new heaven and new earth and so former things not be remembered or come into mind.

Make things happen, concept words

Philippians 4:13 tells us, “I can do all through Christ who gives me strength.” John 15:5 declares, “I am the Vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit apart from me you can do nothing.” If God is at the center of your New Year’s resolution, it has chance for success, depending on your commitment to it. If it is God’s will for something to be done and fulfilled HE will enable you to fulfill it. If a resolution is not God honouring or in agreement in God’s Word we will not receive God’s help in fulfilling the resolution. So, what sort of New Year’s resolution should a Christian make? Here are some suggestions: (1) pray to the LORD God for wisdom (James 1:5) in regards to what resolutions HE would have you make; (2) pray for wisdom as to how to fulfill the goals God gives you; (3) rely on God’s Strength to help you; (4) find an accountability partner who will help you and encourage you; (5) do not become discouraged with relapse or set backs or occasional failures, instead allow them to motivate you further; (6) do not become proud or vain but give God the GLORY. Psalm 37:5-6 also says, “Commit your way to the LORD; trust in HIM to bring things to pass and to make your righteousness shine like the dawn and the justice of your cause bright like the noonday sun. 2 Chronicles 29:17 says, begin the first day of the first month sanctify yourself and on eighth day of month come to the porch of the LORD God Almighty. Sanctify the House of the LORD on eighth day and the sixteenth day of the first month make end to sanctification. Best-10-New-Years-resolutions

To learn a language some reel off  on a list of the typical resolutions made and broken. To know for certain resolutions you are more likely to keep you must do certain things. You decide resolutions you should make but research reveals some clues as to how you should carry them out. There is evidence humans are driven by “loss aversion” that is, more motivated to recover loss than to win gains. That means prevention is better than Cure. Framed resolution to recover something lost is old hobby and former level of fitness is more effective looking than gaining new ability or appearance. This feeds into key piece of advice for a successful resolution is be real: SMART = Specific + Achievable + Measurable + Realistic + Timed. Ensure you keep up with resolution, willing to receive help, feedback to update you on progress. If possible get professional help or friends trained in area of interest to you. Learn to adapt and accept tough changes as it is said, crucify your flesh to endure or no pain no gain. Life is full of challenges so be firm and disciplined with yourself. If you indulge in calories in a day that takes years to shift you cannot expect an overnight miracle. Be practical avoid tempting places attractive for relapse. IMG_20180102_124928

Pope Francis’ Top New Year Resolution: Take care of your spiritual life and your relationship with God, because this is the backbone of everything we do and everything we are.”

– “Take care of your family life, giving your children and loved ones not just money, but most of all your time, attention and love.”

– “Take care of your relationships with others, transforming your faith into life and your words into good works, especially on behalf of the needy.”

– “Be careful how you speak, purify your tongue of offensive words, vulgarity and worldly decadence.”

– “Heal wounds of the heart with the oil of forgiveness, forgiving those who hurt us and put balm of Gilead on all wounds we cause others.”

– “Look after your work, doing it with enthusiasm, humility, competence, passion and with a spirit that knows how to thank the Lord.”

– “Be careful of envy, lust, hatred and negative feelings that devour our interior peace and transform us into destroyed and destructive people.”

– “Watch out for anger that can lead to vengeance; for laziness that leads to existential euthanasia; for pointing the finger at others, which leads to pride; and for complaining continually, which leads to desperation.”

– “Take care of brothers and sisters who are weaker … the elderly, the sick, the hungry, the homeless and strangers, because we will be judged on this.”IMG_20180102_125950

Involve other people

Dr John Michael, a philosopher at Warwick University, studies the social factors involved in making and keeping commitments. He says its more likely to keep resolutions if we see them as being somehow important to other people or “other people’s wellbeing is at stake” if we fail. That might mean committing to attend a class with a friend. The effect could be stronger if you have to pay in advance once we feel someone has invested time and money in something, we are more likely to see through our commitments. Dr Michael is currently testing the theory some more motivated to prevent loss to other people than to themselves. Early evidence from this work suggests people more motivated do continue a boring or a difficult task somebody else has invested effort in.reinvent

Specific Reputation

Reputation is also a powerful motivator. Making resolutions public helps to keep them since for fear people will think less or worse of you if not see through so add reputation to your resolve. “We don’t want reputation as unreliable, so publicly announcing plan is motivating. Challenge people go dare you bet to do it still more motivating,” says Prof Neil Levy at University of Oxford. Willpower is not enough and so make a detailed resolution is necessary and important, he adds. Say, “I’ll go to gym on Tuesday afternoons and Saturday mornings” is more likely to be successful than simply saying “I’ll go to gym more” according to Prof Levy. He recommends intentions to specific cues called ‘implementation of intentions.’ If you want to really learn a language, you first resolve to listen to language-learning podcast on commute each morning. Then, to improve your chances of success further make sure you stick a note to the steering wheel of your car each night to remind you to play it on your journey in the morning. You’re not just making a intention but setting out steps to implement it too.IMG_20180102_125915

Making exceptions

He warns of the potential for “decisions to become precedents.” “Implicitly we recognise exceptions (I won’t go to the gym if the house is on fire). But we can exploit this to detriment by expanding exceptional circumstances. A birthday is legitimate so comes once a year. If I start recognising exceptional things that occur more often its last week of month better to start on the first or it’s too cold to get out of bed early. Making excuses so everything becomes an exception,” Prof Levy says. Make your resolutions part of your longer-term plans and so some things have to be on a list for life.AAEAAQAAAAAAAAZjAAAAJGNkM2Y3YTEwLWQ0MGItNDFiZi1hZTRlLWM0OWMwYTMxM2U0NwAcceptance Quotes8IMG_20180102_121822

Make longer-term plans

For Dr Anne Swinbourne, a behavioural psychologist at James Cook University, Australia, the best resolutions are ones that achieve a chunk of a longer-term plan you have for yourself, rather than those that are vague and aspirational. If you’ve never shown an interest in sport, resolving to become a brilliant athlete is unlikely to stick and so resolving to save money because you’ve always dreamed of travelling the world before you turn 50 might be more successful. Keeping them is about planning, she says. Work out triggers and negative behaviour you want to discourage and also put positive behaviour to encourage in place. If you want to drink less alcohol, plan to meet friends for coffee but not in pub. People who rely only on willpower mostly fail according to Dr Swinbourne. To keep a resolution, you have to be so meticulous and have a plan.” Ensure you time each activity within overall schedules, adapt to change by keeping it simple. Do not overwhelm yourself with multitasking resolutions impossible to achieve. Start and do not despise small beginnings.