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Resting in Jesus

Isaiah 26:2-4

Though Christmastime is a time of celebration, it can be filled with worry and busyness. Family trouble, loneliness, and financial struggle are some common sources of stress. Allowing ourselves to dwell on such things invites anxiety to overwhelm us.

The Lord has a better way. Jesus assured us that, though we would certainly face difficulties in life, we could rest in Him (John 16:33). But we can’t trust someone we don’t know. For this reason, we should first seek to find out who He is.

Truths from Scripture are a good place to start. Our God is Lord and Master. He is omnipresent, omniscient, faithful, and powerful. He loves unconditionally and offers forgiveness to all who trust His Son as Lord and Savior. He adopts believers as His own children and wants the very best for every Christian’s life—so much so that He chastises us when we disobey Him. And He desires that we love Him above everyone and everything.

Knowing these facts is only the beginning. As in any relationship, time together fosters closeness. We can read the Bible, pray, meditate on God’s Word, and listen quietly for His Spirit to speak to our hearts. What’s more, watching how God works in the lives of others helps us become better acquainted with His ways. Jesus is trustworthy, and He offers us rest in the midst of a troubled world. He wants us to lay our burdens upon Him and experience His peace.

Do you know this amazing God? Carve out time in your busy schedule to be in His presence every day so you can know Him better and better.



The Snow Goose need not bathe
to make itself white.
Neither need you do anything
but be yourself.

~ Lao-Tse ~




There are many who are living far below their possibilities
because they are continually handing over their individualities to others.
Do you want to be a power in the world?
Then be yourself.
Be true to the highest within your soul
and then allow yourself to be governed
by no customs or conventionalities or arbitrary man-made rules
that are not founded on principle.


Ralph Waldo Emerson 



Be Inspired
Tiffany Prochera

May you be inspired today...

May you be encouraged to travel your path
with sure feet, confident in your direction.

May you be spurred on to explore,
to face the challenge, to go to the next level.

May you experience many moments
when you want to stand up and shout, “Hazzah! How grand this life is and I want more of it!”

May you fall asleep exhausted
but giddy with anticipation for what is to come,
as though you cannot wait until the morning to continue the adventure,
to see what glorious miracles are going to occur.

And finally, may you realize your power to create such a day
and such a life for yourself for you truly do possess it.

Have an exciting day!



It is not because things are difficult
that we do not dare.
It is because we do not dare
that they are difficult.

~ Seneca ~

Transcendence: God Is In Charge


By Dr Tony Evans

He stretches out the north over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing. - (Job 26:7)

Five distinctives make up a spiritual covenant and must be recognized for you to be in covenantal alignment. These include transcendence, hierarchy, ethics, sanctions, and inheritance.

Transcendence simply means that God is in charge. We call this attribute of God His sovereignty.Transcendence also references God as distinct. He is not a part of His creation, but rather separate from it, above it. Therefore, covenants are both initiated and ruled by God.

When the practical realities of God are dismissed from any covenantal relationship, it becomes an invitation to the devil to create havoc in the realm. This happens because there has been a departure from transcendence.

If you are going to come under God’s rules, if you are going to serve in God’s government, if you are going to be blessed as part of God’s kingdom, then you cannot neglect the reality that God is in charge. Sometimes at work, the boss has to remind people who is in charge.The same is true with God. Often, He has to remind His followers who is in charge, and He does this through a myriad of ways.

So the question you must raise about being under God’s covenant and in God’s kingdom is this: Is He in charge? Or are you trying to live independently of His “in-charge- ness”? If you are, then you are in rebellion against His covenant.

You are either a friend or an enemy of the King based on whether you pray and live according to “Thy will be done” or “My will be done.”

Transcendence means that God is in charge.

Reflection: Why is God’s transcendence an important part of His covenant love? Why is God’s transcendence a truth that is important in your daily life? Take time to thank God for His transcendence and His covenant love.

You are in charge. I know it doesn’t always look like that in my life. I don’t always show You the respect that is due to You. Forgive me for those times and help me to honor You more fully.

Watch Online Videos of Dr. Tony Evans and The Urban Alternative at LightSource.com
and
Listen to Dr. Tony Evans Online Broadcasts at OnePlace.com.

Transcendence: God Is In Charge

He stretches out the north over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing. - (Job 26:7)

Five distinctives make up a spiritual covenant and must be recognized for you to be in covenantal alignment. These include transcendence, hierarchy, ethics, sanctions, and inheritance.

Transcendence simply means that God is in charge. We call this attribute of God His sovereignty.Transcendence also references God as distinct. He is not a part of His creation, but rather separate from it, above it. Therefore, covenants are both initiated and ruled by God.

When the practical realities of God are dismissed from any covenantal relationship, it becomes an invitation to the devil to create havoc in the realm. This happens because there has been a departure from transcendence.

If you are going to come under God’s rules, if you are going to serve in God’s government, if you are going to be blessed as part of God’s kingdom, then you cannot neglect the reality that God is in charge. Sometimes at work, the boss has to remind people who is in charge.The same is true with God. Often, He has to remind His followers who is in charge, and He does this through a myriad of ways.

So the question you must raise about being under God’s covenant and in God’s kingdom is this: Is He in charge? Or are you trying to live independently of His “in-charge- ness”? If you are, then you are in rebellion against His covenant.

You are either a friend or an enemy of the King based on whether you pray and live according to “Thy will be done” or “My will be done.”

Transcendence means that God is in charge.

Reflection: Why is God’s transcendence an important part of His covenant love? Why is God’s transcendence a truth that is important in your daily life? Take time to thank God for His transcendence and His covenant love.

You are in charge. I know it doesn’t always look like that in my life. I don’t always show You the respect that is due to You. Forgive me for those times and help me to honor You more fully.

Watch Online Videos of Dr. Tony Evans and The Urban Alternative at LightSource.com
and
Listen to Dr. Tony Evans Online Broadcasts at OnePlace.com.


The No. 1 Thing 15 Relationship Experts Have Learned About Love

If binge-watching Gilmore Girls,Scandal, or The Good Wife has taught us anything, it's thatrelationships are messy. Personal experience proves it too: From our eighth-grade romance to our most recentbreakup drama, "love isn't easy" is a life lesson we know all too well.

No matter your status—single, dating, engaged, or married—relationships take work. And whether they end with tears and empty Ben & Jerry's or last until forever may depend upon countless factors, but your own actions, words, and thoughts undoubtedly play a role.

One thing that'll give you an advantage in the game of love? Soaking up all the wisdom you can from relationship therapists, researchers, matchmakers, and more. Here, we've distilled it down to the very best advice 15 experts have learned. Regardless of your personal situation, their words may help you uncover the key to long-lasting happiness.


1. Do or say something daily to show your appreciation.

"Saying and doing small, simple expressions of gratitude every day yields big rewards. When people feel recognized as special and appreciated, they're happier in that relationship and more motivated to make the relationship better and stronger. And when I say simple, I really mean it. Make small gestures that show you're paying attention: Hug, kiss, hold hands, buy a small gift, send a card, fix a favorite dessert, put gas in the car, or tell your partner, 'You're sexy,' 'You're the best dad,' or simply say 'Thank you for being so wonderful.'"

Terri Orbuch, Ph.D., professor at Oakland University and author of 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great

2. Realize every relationship has value, regardless of how long it lasts.

"There’s no such thing as a failed romance. Relationships simply evolve into what they were always meant to be. It’s best not to try to make something that is meant to be seasonal or temporary into a lifelong relationship. Let go and enjoy the journey."

April Beyer, matchmaker and dating and relationship expert

3. Never take your partner for granted.

"This may sound obvious, but you can't imagine how many people come to couples therapy too late, when their partner is done with a relationship and wants to end it. It is very important to realize that everyone potentially has a breaking point, and if their needs are not met or they don't feel seen by the other, they will more than likely find it somewhere else. Many people assume that just because they are OK without things they want so is their partner. 'No relationship is perfect' shouldn't be used as a rationalization for complacency."

Irina Firstein, LCSW, individual and couples therapist

4. Remember to take breaks.

"A friend taught me that no matter how in love you are or how long you've been together, it's important to take an exhale from your partnership. Hang out with girlfriends until late in the evening, take a weekend trip to visit family, or just spend time 'doing you' for a while. Then when you go home to Yours Truly, you'll both be recharged and ready to come together even stronger."

— Amy Baglan, CEO of MeetMindful, a dating site for people into healthy living, well-being, and mindfulness

5. It's not what you fight about—it's how you fight.

"Researchers have found that four conflict messages are able to predict whether couples remain together or get divorced: contempt, criticism, stonewalling (or withdrawal), and defensiveness. Together, they're known as the 'Four Horsemen of Divorce.' Instead of resorting to these negative tactics, fight fairly: Look for places where each partner's goal overlaps into a shared common goal and build from that. Also, focus on using 'I' vs. 'you' language."

Sean M. Horan, Ph.D., assistant professor of communication, Texas State University

PIN IT
6. Stop trying to be each other’s “everything.”

"'You are my everything' is a lousy pop-song lyric and an even worse relationship plan. No one can be 'everything' to anyone. Create relationships outside The Relationship, or The Relationship isn't going to work anymore."

Matt Lundquist, LCSW, couples therapist

7. Don't just go for the big O.

"Sex isn't just about orgasms. It's about sensation, emotional intimacy, stress relief, improved health (improved immune and cardiovascular system), and increased emotional bonding with your partner, thanks to the wonderful release of hormones due to physical touch. There are many more reasons to have sex than just getting off."

Kat Van Kirk, Ph.D., licensed marriage and sex therapist, expert at Adam and Eve, and Greatist expert

8. Look for someone with similar values.
"For long-lasting love, the more similarity (e.g., age, education, values, personality, hobbies), the better. Partners should be especially sure that their values match before getting into marriage. Although other differences can be accommodated and tolerated, a difference in values is particularly problematic if the goal is long-lasting love. Another secret for a long marriage: Bothpartners need to commit to making it work, no matter what. The only thing that can break up a relationship are the partners themselves."

Kelly Campbell, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at California State University, San Bernardino

9. Try a nicer approach.

"Research has shown that the way a problem is brought up determines both how the rest of that conversation will go and how the rest of the relationship will go. Many times an issue is brought up by attacking or blaming one’s partner, also known as criticism, and one of the killers of a relationship. So start gently. Instead of saying, 'You always leave your dishes all over the place! Why can’t you pick anything up?' try a more gentle approach, focusing onyour own emotional reaction and a positive request. For example: 'I get annoyed when I see dishes in the living room. Would you please put them back in the kitchen when you’re finished?'"

— Carrie Cole, M.Ed., LPC-S, a certified Gottman therapist and master trainer for The Gottman Institute

10. Make sure you're meeting your partner's needs.

"The number one thing I have learned about love is that it is a trade and a social exchange, not just a feeling. Loving relationships are a process by which we get our needs met and meet the needs of our partners too. When that exchange is mutually satisfying, then good feelings continue to flow. When it is not, then things turn sour, and the relationship ends. That is why it is important to pay attention to what you and your partner actually do for each other as expressions of love... not just how you feel about each other in the moment."

Jeremy Nicholson, Ph.D., psychologist and dating expert


11. Take care of yourself.

"There is one major cause of relationship problems: self-abandonment. We can 'abandon' ourselves in many areas: emotional (judging or ignoring our feelings), financial (spending irresponsibly), organizational (being late or messy), physical (eating badly, not exercising), relational (creating conflict in a relationship), or spiritual (depending too much on your partner for love). When you decide to learn to love yourself rather than continue to abandon yourself, you will discover how to create a loving relationship with your partner."

— Margaret Paul, Ph.D., relationship expert and co-creator of Inner Bonding

12. Don't forget to keep things hot.

"Many times people become increasingly shy with the person they love the more as time goes by. Partners begin to take their love for granted and forget to keep themselves turned on and to continue to seduce their partner. Keep your 'sex esteem' alive by keeping up certain practices on a regular basis. This allows you to remain vibrant, sexy, and engaged in your love life."

Sari Cooper, LCSW, licensed individual, couples, and sex therapist

13. Remove the pressure on performance.

"The penis-vagina model of sex comes with pressures, such as having an orgasm at the same time or the idea that an orgasm should happen with penetration. With these strict expectations come a pressure on performance that ultimately leads many to feel a sense of failure and frustration. Instead, try to expand your concept of sex to include anything that involves close, intimate connection with your partner, such as sensual massages, taking a nice shower or bath together, reading an erotic story together, playing with some fun toys… the possibilities are endless. And if orgasm happens, great, and if not, that's OK too. When you expand your definition of sex and lower the pressure on orgasm and penetration, the anxiety around performance dissipates and your satisfaction can escalate."

— Chelsea Holland, DHS, MS, sex and relationship therapist at The Intimacy Institute

14. Create a fulfilling life for yourself.

"Like many people, I grew up believing that marriage required self-sacrifice. Lots of it. My wife, Linda, helped me see that I didn’t have to become a martyr and sacrifice my own happiness in order to make our marriage work. She showed me that my responsibility in creating a fulfilling and joyful life for myself was as important as anything else that I could do for her or the kids. Over the years, it’s become increasingly clear to me that my responsibility to provide for my own well-being is as important as my responsibility to others. This is easier said than done, but it is perhaps the single most important thing we can do to ensure that our relationship will be mutually satisfying."

Charlie Bloom, MSW, relationship expert and author of Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truth from Real Couples about Lasting Love

15. Identify your "good conflicts," and work on them together.

"Every couple has what I call a 'good conflict.' In long-term relationships, we often feel that the thing you most need from your partner is the very thing he or she is least capable of giving you. This isn't the end of love—it's the beginning of deeper love! Don't run from that conflict. It's supposed to be there. In fact, it's your key to happiness as a couple—if you both can name it and commit to working on it together as a couple. If you approach your 'good conflicts' with bitterness, blame, and contempt, your relationship will turn toxic."


— Ken Page, LCSW, a psychotherapist and author of Deeper Dating: How to Drop the Games of Seduction and Discover the Power of Intimacy.



Does Trying to Be Happy Make Us Unhappy?

As we muddle through our days, the quest for happiness looms large. In the U.S., citizens are granted three inalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The kingdom of Bhutan created a national index to measure happiness. But what if searching for happiness actually prevents us from finding it? There’s reason to believe that the quest for happiness might be a recipe for misery.

In a series of new studies led by psychologist Iris Mauss, the more value people placed on happiness, the less happy they became. I saw it happen to Tom, a savant who speaks half a dozen languages, from Chinese to Welsh. In college, Tom declared a major in computer science but found it dissatisfying. He became obsessed with happiness, longing for a career and a culture that would provide the perfect match for his interests and values. Within two years of graduating from college, he had bounced from working at the United Nations to an internet startup in New York; applied for jobs as a supermarket manager, consultant, and venture capitalist; and considered moving to Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Colombia, or Canada.

These careers and countries didn’t fulfill him. After another year, he was doing stand-up comedy, contemplating a move to London to pursue an advanced degree in education, philosophy of science, management, or psychology. But none of these paths made him happy. Dissatisfied with his own lack of progress toward happiness, he created an online tool to help people develop more productive habits. That wasn’t satisfying either, so he moved to Beijing. He lasted two years there, but didn’t find the right cultural fit, so he moved to Germany and considered starting a college dorm for adults and a bar for nerds. In the next two years, he was off to Montreal and Pittsburgh, then back to Germany working on a website to help couples spend more quality time together. Still not happy, he abandoned that plan and returned to Beijing to sell office furniture. One year and two more moves across two continents later, he admitted to his friends, “I’m harder to find than Carmen San Diego.”

Common Mistakes on the Road to Happiness

1. Trying to figure out if you're happy.

When we pursue happiness, our goal is to experience more joy and contentment. To find out if we’re making progress, we need to compare our past happiness to our current happiness. This creates a problem: The moment we make that comparison, we shift from an experiencing mode to an evaluating mode. Consider several decades of research by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on flow, a state of complete absorption in an activity. Think of being engrossed in a Harry Potter book, playing a sport you love, or catching up with a good friend you haven’t seen in years. You’re in the zone: You’re so immersed in the task that you lose track of time and the outside world.

Csikszentmihalyi finds that when people are in a flow state, they don’t report being happy, as they’re too busy concentrating on the activity or conversation. But afterward, looking back, they describe flow as the optimal emotional experience. By looking everywhere for happiness, Tom disrupted his ability to find flow. He was so busy assessing each new job and country that he never fully engaged in his projects and relationships. Instead, he became depressed and entered a vicious cycle documented bypsychologists Katariina Salmela-Aro and Jari-Erik Nurmi: Depression leads people to evaluate their daily projects as less enjoyable, and ruminating about why they’re not fun makes the depression worse.

2. Overestimating the impact of life circumstances on happiness.

As psychologist Dan Gilbert explains in Stumbling on Happiness, we tend to overestimate the emotional impact of positive life events. We think a great roommate or a major promotion will make us happier, overlooking the fact that we’ll adapt to the new circumstances. For example, in a classic study, winning the lottery didn’t appear to yield lasting gains in happiness. Each time Tom moved to a new job and country, he was initially excited to be running on a new treadmill, but within a matter of months, the reality of the daily grind set in: He was still running on a treadmill.

3. Pursuing happiness alone.

Happiness is an individual state, so when we look for it, it’s only natural to focus on ourselves. Yet a wealth of evidence consistently shows that self-focused attention undermines happiness and causes depression. In one study, Mauss and colleagues demonstrated that the greater the value people placed on happiness, the more lonely they felt every day for the next two weeks. In another experiment, they randomly assigned people to value happiness, and found that it backfired: These people reported feeling lonelier and also had a progesterone drop in their saliva, a hormonal response linked to loneliness. As Tom changed jobs and countries alone, he left behind the people who made him happy.

4. Looking for intense happiness.

When we want to be happy, we look for strong positive emotions like joy, elation, enthusiasm, and excitement. Unfortunately, research shows that this isn’t the best path to happiness. Research led by psychologist Ed Diener reveals that happiness is driven by the frequency, not the intensity, of positive emotions. When we aim for intense positive emotions, we evaluate our experiences against a higher standard, which makes it easier to be disappointed.

Studies indicate that an intense positive experience leads us to frame ordinary experiences as less positive.

Indeed, Mauss and her colleagues found that when people were explicitly searching for happiness, they experienced less joy in watching a figure skater win a gold medal. They were disappointed that the event wasn’t even more jubilating. And even if they themselves had won the gold medal, it probably wouldn’t have helped. Studies indicate that an intense positive experience leads us to frame ordinary experiences as less positive. Once you’ve landed a gold medal or won the lottery, it’s hard to take pleasure in finding a great parking spot or winning a video game. Tom was looking so hard for the perfect job and the ideal country that he failed to appreciate an interesting task and a great restaurant.


Today, for the first time in more than a decade, Tom reports being—and appears to be—happy. Instead of pursuing happiness alone, he fell in love and got married. Rather than evaluating his happiness daily and hunting for his dream job, he’s finding flow and experiencing daily satisfaction in helping his wife set up a company. He’s no longer bouncing around from one continent to another, following the advice of psychologists Ken Sheldon and Sonja Lyubomirsky: “Change your actions, not your circumstances.”

In Obliquity, John Kay argues that the best things in life can only be pursued indirectly. I believe this is true for happiness: If you truly want to experience joy or meaning, you need to shift your attention away from joy or meaning, and toward projects and relationships that bring joy and meaning as byproducts. As the great philosopher John Stuart Mill once wrote, “Those only are happy who have their minds fixed on some object other than their own happiness.”

If you’re too focused on chasing happiness, you might end up chasing it away.

This post originally appeared on Medium and has been reposted with permission. Adam Grant is a Wharton professor and the New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take. Sign up for his free newsletter on work and psychology at giveandtake.com.



Managing My Depression Is a Constant Struggle. Here's What's Helped
 

We throw the word "depression" around a lot. That's the unfortunate truth. We use it to describe a weeklong period of sadness after a breakup or a few days of feeling bad when things aren’t going our way. I don’t mean to trivialize those experiences or emotional hardships. But being sad is not the same as being depressed—that’s only the smallest part of it.

Depression is about feeling trapped by overwhelming unhappiness, completely surrounded by an impenetrable fog of misery, and a general acceptance of the idea that it will never go away.

Winston Churchill called depression “the black dog.” His reasoningwas simple: Like a hunting dog, it would always be nipping at his heels, following him. For some people, the black dog is omnipresent. For others, like myself, depression comes and goes—but even when you’re not suffering, you’re always aware of the black dog off in the distance, waiting to close in. This is an uncomfortable thought to which one must adapt: Even when you’re not depressed, you’re afraid of depression.


When I say I’ve suffered from “debilitating” depression, I mean exactly that: I’ve had long periods of time (three months or more) when getting out of bed was the only thing I could accomplish each day. And sometimes that was a stretch.

There have been times when I would break down and cry for seemingly no reason or randomly snap and put my fist through a window before I could rein in my temper. There were months when I hid from friends and family, pretending everything was fine and that I was too “busy” to see them while sitting alone in the dark. More often than I care to admit, there were times when I needed to be working on some massive project, but instead would spend a weekend watching an entire season of some TV show I’d already seen.

That’s what depression is like for me: a general inability to perform. And with it, a feeling of shame and guilt for not being able to do so, compounded by the ever-growing anxiety of deadlines.

In many ways, being truly depressed is sort of like being immunocompromised: It weakens you emotionally and psychologically, wears you down to your bones—and suddenly, things that would not normally affect you or which you could fight off with ease overwhelm you. When I’m depressed, I’m infinitely more susceptible to things like guilt, fear, shame, and regret. I’ll dwell on mistakes I made years ago and think about all of the ways I could have done things differently. I’ll feel ashamed of myself and my actions or inaction—and actively fantasize about the ways the lives of everyone around me would be better if I were simply not there.

Small setbacks seem like incomprehensible obstacles. Tiny transgressions seem like reasons for justifiable homicide.

Small setbacks seem like incomprehensible obstacles. Tiny transgressions seem like reasons for justifiable homicide. Mustering up the energy to shower sometimes takes days. Sleep comes unbidden or not at all. Training is half-hearted at best. Food turns to ash, and everything that isn’t made of chocolate seems to be made of cardboard. Life is pretty shitty.

Coming Out the Other Side

Since I’m clinically depressed and not bi-polar, I don’t have cycles of depression alternated with extreme mania. I just have periods of being depressed and periods of being a relatively normal human being. Most of the time I’m fine and happy and productive. I’m typically brash, boisterous, happy-go-lucky. I’m friendly and goofy and annoyingly passionate about love and life and sex and food and literature and music.

But depression doesn’t really follow any schedule or come at predictable intervals. Things just start feeling awful, and then they feel worse. And then you sort of get used to feeling awful. And then maybe things change a bit.

There is no massive change, no celebratory event, no clear signal that the storm has passed. Things just slowly get better. Day by day you’re able to function just a little bit more.

There’s an old saying about the month of March: It comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Depression, then, is the March of your emotional calendar. And like March, it strikes suddenly and takes over absolutely everything. When it fades, it’s gradual. There is no massive change, no celebratory event, no clear signal that the storm has passed. Things just slowly get better. Day by day you’re able to function just a little bit more. And then one day, you look up and realize you’re doing pretty well. Things seem less gray, and the world seems to offer reasons to keep living.

And there are reasons—thousands upon thousands of reasons. And they’re all around you. You just need to wait things out long enough for the veil to lift so you can see them. Now let’s talk about how to do that.

How I’ve Coped

Therapy and medication are viable options for treatment, as are other less clinical approaches: meditation, exercise, certain dietary changes. All of them work in their own way. While I dislike medication, I admit that antidepressants, taken in moderate doses for short periods of time (8 to 12 weeks), have seemed to get me through the hardest times.

Whether you find yourself besieged by depression and/or thoughts of suicide, or you know someone who may be in distress, I’d like to provide some other resources that have helped me.

1. Pick up the phone.

If you’re actually considering suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline immediately: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255 FREE).

2. Educate yourself.

If you’re exploring depression from an academic perspective and trying to figure out how the pieces fit together in your particular emotional landscape, I encourage you to spend some time reading the following articles:

Some Practical Thoughts on Suicide, by Tim Ferris
This amazing series on The Art of Manliness, collectively titled Leashing the Black Dog:

3. Do nothing; be silent; be still. Breathe.

Take a moment and try to take the long view.

Perspective is important because chances are whatever fresh hell you’re experiencing is a temporary thing. Eventually you’re going to feel better—or at least, less awful. Your experience of depression, however powerful, is an exercise in exposure to the impermanence of humanity—and there is simply no real upside to facilitating death with suicide. Because once you’re dead, that’s it. Game over.

While I admit that the idea of committing suicide might occasionally reach out to the tortured artist in me, the pragmatic side of my personality rails against the thought. Because suicide is permanent—and ultimately robs the world of whatever contributions you may make in the future. What if Hemingway killed himself before The Sun Also Rises? Or The Old Man and the Sea?

While I cannot claim any Pulitzer Prize-winning manuscripts, in my own small way, I change lives. I have a file on my computer of emails filled with several hundred notes from people who have said my work has changed their lives; those are lives I would not have had the chance to change had I checked out years ago. To me, that is a reason to keep living.

4. Take control.

I’ve come to believe that suicide is an attempt to feel in control, and both depression and anxiety result (in part) from feeling out of control. So take control—of something, anything.

Take control of your body. Cut your hair. Get a tattoo. Sign up for a transformation challenge. You’d be surprised how this can help. (I am endlessly surprised by how many of my clients tell me they were suffering from depression before starting their fitness journey.)

Take control of your environment. Change something. Devote five minutes a day to imposing your will on something external. There have been some surveys that suggest that something as simple as making your bed every morning can mitigate the symptoms of depression.

Take control of your mind. Meditate. Read. Write. Examine. Discuss. Whatever seems interesting to you, dive into it and allow it to eat up some of the energy the black dog is trying to siphon from you. I have a friend who was experiencing intense feelings of anxiety and who decided to address it by taking control of his inbox. He made it a game to see how many things he could unsubscribe from or delete in a single day then tried to beat it the following day; within two weeks, he was at inbox zero—and he said that helped.

5. Do less.

A big part of feeling out of control is simply feeling overwhelmed. If you have too much sh*t to do and your ability to produce is already hampered by your emotional state, then you’re not going to get it all done. Trust me, this will push you further in depression.

If you can eliminate something, do it. Do less. Say no to as much as you can. Push off any obligations or projects that aren’t immediately urgent. Delegate things to other people, and actually allow them to help you.

6. Ask for help.

This is the hardest thing of all but also the single most important—and the most beneficial. If you’re anything like me, you feel deep shame about asking for help and more so about needing help.

I find it almost impossible to look back now and get into the mind of the person I was in those moments—but I do know that I did not allow myself to ask for help.

I’ve had three actual suicide attempts: two of which I can say in retrospect were more a cry for help (ironic, as I never told anyone about them), and one that qualifies as what mental health professionals label a sincere attempt. I find it almost impossible to look back now and get into the mind of the person I was in those moments—but I do know that I did not allow myself to ask for help.

What I’ve come to believe is that suicide is something that is contemplated for extended periods of time— yet the decision to execute is made in a single moment. Had I just reached out to someone, anyone, I would have gotten through that particular moment and been able to lean on them for support.

Ask for help. From a friend. A loved one. A stranger. The hotline. A support group. If you’re struggling, and you need to talk, I am here for you.

This post originally appeared on Roman Fitness System. John Romaniello is an internationally recognized human. While known primarily as the founder of Roman Fitness System and his contributions to the fitness industry, a little known fact is that he also invented the piano key necktie. Roman is also a bestselling author and angel investor, but that's not nearly as important as the fact that he's a die hard New York Jets fan, and as such spends his life in a near-constant state of disappointment. He enjoys unicorns, sarcasm, and writing about himself in the third person.



Verse of the Day
Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ... to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.
—Romans 16:25-27