Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing Little Voice Mastery, and it was a very different read than most of my business book reviews. Although author Blair Singer is focused on helping people improve the bottom line, hit sales goals, and the like, this book has some real meat in it for the depressed person.

For example: on page 126, in the middle of a series of very specific techniques Singer suggests for quelling the nagging, doubting voices that echo in all of our heads, he offers a technique for shiftly one's mood quickly. It's a role play, and it will almost make anyone feeling depressed additionally feel stupid, but that's the little voice of the depression talking, so pay attention to me, not it.

In essence, the technique is one of having a dialogue with oneself, just asking questions about mood until one gets an answer. It's surprising how easy it is to get the subconscious to own up to how it feels if you just ask it a direct question or two. After you've identified your real mood (and we all know that sometimes the anger or sadness is masking something else), the exercise helps you pick another mood and try it out.

Emotions do really follow our direction. If you feel powerless to change, it's not because you're not capable - it's because that damned depression has convinced that you're impotent. Instead of dwelling on it, try a role play out. Just walk through the steps and follow the instructions carefully, so you have no choice but to succeed. You may be surprised that it was easier than you expected.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Business Leadership and Depression

I read and review business books from time to time, and one thing that always comes up in them is leadership. You've got to stand out from the crowd, go against the grain, create a climate of change if you're going to succeed, they all say.


Business books target the people that want to be exceptional, want to make more money,want to share a special idea or way of doing things with the world - or so they say. But that makes it sound like depressed people aren't - or shouldn't be - in business.

Deep in the depths of depression, who can pick up a book about rallying the troops to victory and not feel inadequate? Designed to inspire, a lot of these books do the opposite for a depression suffererer - and the truth is, plenty of business owners wrestle with depression.

So how do depressed business people succeed? Do they? Can they grow their companies while neglecting themselves, or do both suffer if both are not addressed? I don't know the answers yet.

Do you own a business? Are you depressed? What do you do to make sure your business stays on track, even if you don't?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Depression Stinks Squidoo Lens

I've created a Depression Stinks Lens on Squidoo. Right now it's got links to a basic course on happiness, posts from this blog, and an interesting article on hormones and depression. I would like to add book reviews and other material; please stop in here or there and leave some feedback about what you'd like to see.

Salt Linked to Depression

I grew up in a family that loved salt - it was always handy in a shaker on the dinner table, and we added it to everything. I can remember the soups my mother made as being particularly salty, and how that made them particularly good. I've since given up adding salt to my foods, but I still enjoy a nice, salty bag of chips from time to time. Salt is an awfully satisfying experience for my tongue.

At the University of Iowa some researchers have posited that salt enhances mood, which certainly fits nicely into my own anecdotal experience. Rats were less likely to engage in pleasurable behaviors, such as drink sugary rat goodness, if their salt levels dropped too low. Between the researchers and me we've come up with a few observations about this:
  • Salt is a good conductor and probably affects brain function.
  • We evolved in a saline environment (the ocean), and have carried on with the same basic chemistry on land.
  • Our bodies and minds seek out more salt than we probably need, which could suggest addiction or a system that hasn't adapted to the relative abundance of salt we now have. It's not clear if the reason makes much of a difference in the result.
  • Mood elevation that's tied to salt consumption could be caused by the salt, but it also could be the other way around. Maybe the lack of salt causes anxiety, which is alleviated by eating salt and giving the body what it wants.
"One sign of addiction is using a substance even when it's known to be harmful. Many people are told to reduce sodium due to health concerns, but they have trouble doing so because they like the taste and find low-sodium foods bland."
Again, it could also be that it takes thousands of years for our bodies to adapt to changing circumstances - two thousand years ago the phrase "common table salt" would have been incomprehensible. The desire for salt could simply be an overexaggeration of a real need.