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Depression affects nearly one in six people at some point in their lives.  Anyone can become depressed, but many experts believe genetics play a role. Having a parent or sibling with depression increases your risk of developing the disorder.
Women are twice as likely as men to become depressed. And men exhibit different signs of depression than women do.  They may become irritable, angry, or unhappy with their jobs, and may not show any signs of sadness.  They might feel hopeless or helpless.
Depression is not a sign of weakness or a negative personality.  It is a serious medical illness….. a health problem related to changes in the brain, and the top cause of disability in American adults.Our culture admires will power and mental toughness and is quick to label anyone who falls short of that, as a whiner. But, people who have clinical depression are not lazy or feeling sorry for themselves. Nor can they “will” depression to go away.

Some life events cause sadness or disappointment, but do not become clinical depression. Grief is normal after a death, divorce, loss of a job, or diagnosis with a serious health problem. One clue that helps determine the need for treatment: the sadness is constant every day, most of the day. When people are weathering difficult times appropriately, they can usually be distracted or cheered up for short periods of time.

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“To Love Oneself is the Beginning of a Lifelong Romance.” 

Some have deemed National Boost Your Self-Esteem month as a “weird and unusual” celebration, but, we see it as an excuse to self-reflect and build confidence.  The National Association for Self-Esteem (NASE) defines self-esteem as “The experience of being capable of meeting life’s challenges and being worthy of happiness.”  A healthy or high self-esteem will not only allow you to live a happier life, but it will also strengthen your ability to handle challenges, build your tolerance, motivate you to take risks, and encourage a life of love.  When participating in self-refection and understanding your own self-esteem, it is important to note that we often see ourselves through the eyes of others, thus, our self-esteem can be built upon or broken down by our surroundings.  Charles Taylor author of Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity and Multiculturalism writes, “We define our identity always in dialogue with, sometimes in struggle against, the things our significant others want to see in us. Even after we outgrow some of these others (our parents, for instance) and they disappear from our lives, the conversation with them continues within us as long as we live.”  Before taking the steps to boost your self-esteem, we encourage you to take a look at the people in and around your life that may be influencing the image of yourself that is being reflected.  Don’t look at this task as a profound, life-transitioning challenge.  Just a few simple changes can make a difference and can help you live a life of hope, harmony, and happiness with a healthy self-esteem at the core.  A few tips:

  • Surround yourself with positive people that will reflect beauty back to you
  • Be positive, even when it seems like a challenge (it takes less muscle in your face to smile than frown)
  • Journal about your daily activities and thoughts – highlight the positive and explore where the negative stems
  • Do an activity that you are good at
  • Celebrate the little things – a productive day at work or getting all the laundry done deserves a celebration every once in awhile
  • Question your negativity or doubt – remember we are sometimes wrong
  • Stop thinking about yourself – do something for someone else
  • Relax – turn off and just breathe
  • Lighten up – Don’t be so hard on yourself!

 

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