DissStress

For anyone who is still thinking that stress is an attitude, and you just have to get over it, this article discusses the surprisingly extensive research on how traumatic childhood experiences impact lifelong health prognosis. The effects are pretty dramatic and apply to a lot of people. Certain interventions are also dramatic in their effectiveness, yet the findings have not been well-integrated into treatments, much less into prevention. What are health and human service professionals waiting for?
The head of a statue lies on the ground. It has cracked vertically down the center of the face, and one side has slipped downward so that the two sides are skewed.

The truth is, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps will only take you as far as your ankles. For a list of traumas, open the Data and Statistics tab on this page, and click on ACEs Definitions. When you’re done with that, check out ACEs Prevalence, and then ask yourself whether we are really focusing on the right problems in our political lives.

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Depression is Not a Personality Type

Depression is not a personality type. It is a painful, confusing, exhausting, and PREVENTABLE impairment of the most important organ in your body.

A statue of a sensitive young face. The statue has been broekn and repaired, so that there are cracks, and small pieces missing from the face.

Negative Emotions Are Key to Well-Being

Hah, I knew it! In this Scientific American article, a psychotherapist discusses the benefits of “negative” emotions, and the risks of repressing them. Maybe we should stop calling them “negative” and instead refer to them as transformative. What’s that you say – “transformative” could apply to all emotions? Exactly.

Dance Me to the End of Love

This is the first record I ever bought with my own money. That was 44 years ago.

44 years. So endless. So fleeting. We don’t know where that time goes, but we know this: After awhile, this week, too, will go there.

A worn LP jacket of the Songs of Leonard Cohen

Happy, Shmappy

This entertaining illustrated post by graphic artist Matthew Inman explores happiness fascism, a subject I have addressed once or twice myself. He pillories the vague definition of “happiness,” and compares and contrasts it with meaningfulness, proposing creative flow as a variant of happiness, or at least as a modifier of unhappiness.
An enormous ugly monster chases a small, horned human, saying "I just want you to be happy"
I nodded my head all the way through this, but in the end, I don’t entirely agree. Continue reading

Take Me Away From All This Death

An empty cicada husk on the palm of a handOver the past few months, my life has been touched by death repeatedly. Cultural icons of my youth are dropping left and right, and I’ve learned a new hesitation to track down old friends and acquaintances. I’ve known elders who commented that everyone they knew was dead or dying, but I hadn’t expected to experience that in middle age. It has suddenly become difficult to ignore the inevitability of my own death, which I had fully expected to go on denying for another two or three decades, at minimum.
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