Remember, in order to be intelligent emotionally, you attach definitions to your different experiences, feelings, and emotions that you have. Consciousness, self-awareness, and emotional intelligence are very important, but where the change happens is in the effort. You can be conscious and have the emotional intelligence and self-awareness that you want, but unless you do something with it, it means nothing other than increasing your level of self-awareness. In order for it to make a difference in your life, you have to take it and process these different practices together and move forward in your relationships and your daily habits. Everything is driven by the effort you put into it. As I've said, the effort put in will be the effort that comes out. As the saying goes, "Garbage in, garbage out." On the other hand, quality begets quality. The people you love deserve more than getting whatever time is left over. If someone is important to you, make regular time for them on your calendar. Go beyond scheduling date days with your significant other. Put domestic chores on your calendar to ensure an equitable split. A lack of close friendships may be hazardous to your health. Ensure you maintain important relationships by scheduling time for regular get-togethers. Unlike the other life domains, I don't need to remind you to make time for work. You probably don't have much of a choice when it comes to this area. Given that work likely takes up more of your waking hours than any of the other domains, it's even more important to ensure the time spent there is consistent with your values. Work can help people live their values of being collaborative, industrious, and persistent. It also allows us to spend time on something meaningful when we labor for someone else's benefit--like our customers or an important cause. Unfortunately, many of us find that our workday is a hectic mess, plagued by constant interruptions, pointless meetings, and a never-ending flow of emails. Thankfully, it doesn't have to be this way.

We can do more and live better by clarifying our values and expectations with each other at work. Clarification around how we spend our time at work fosters and reinforces the central quality of a positive working relationship: trust. Fatigue is a common symptom that affects people in both the general community and medical care settings, including psychiatry. It is considered to be a core symptom in mood disorders, affecting more than 75 percent of patients with major depression. Fatigue can significantly impair your ability to function and carry out your daily tasks. It may make it more difficult to get up and out of bed, get dressed, care for yourself or your family, prepare meals, or get out of the house to do errands or go to work. You may feel fatigue even when you think you are getting enough sleep, which can be quite frustrating. What exactly is fatigue? There is no single definition. It is different from just feeling sleepy or tired. Fatigue can be thought of as a combination of symptoms, with three main dimensions: physical, mental, and emotional. You may have several of these together. The various dimensions of fatigue are included in the DSM-IV-TR definition of depression, for example, physical fatigue (loss of energy), mental fatigue (difficulty concentrating), and emotional fatigue (loss of interest and pleasure, called anhedonia). Depression-related fatigue has various possible causes, which may be difficult to sort out. But it is important to identify which one applies to you, if possible, so that you and your provider can address and treat the problem of fatigue effectively. First, fatigue may be a primary symptom of your depression, along with other feelings of low mood, sadness, or loss of interest. Often the fatigue improves along with the treatment for depression. However, fatigue can also be a residual symptom of depression, persisting after treatment in 22.5 to 38 percent of people who are otherwise in remission. This means that, in some people, fatigue persists even after most other depression symptoms have improved or gone away following treatment with antidepressant medication. Residual fatigue can be difficult to resolve, but therapeutic options are available--speak with your psychiatrist if you are having persistent fatigue.

Next, fatigue can be a side effect of antidepressant medications, particularly some SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). Sometimes this requires a change in medication to a different drug with fewer side effects, one that you tolerate better. This requires a discussion with your treating psychiatrist. Remember to be specific about your side effect symptoms and how they affect the quality of your life. Fatigue can also be related to insomnia and poor sleep patterns, which often occur along with depression. If this is a cause of your fatigue, adhering to good Sleep Hygiene practices will benefit you. Finally, fatigue may be related to other medical problems you may have. These problems may include diabetes; low thyroid condition; kidney, liver, lung, or heart disease; and others. These conditions do not necessarily cause the fatigue; there is just a potential association. In these cases, work with your treating physician to optimize your other medical conditions as best as possible. University professors can be believers in the weird as well. Harvard professor and psychiatrist, John Mack, wrote a book in 1994 titled Abduction in which he argued that several hundred thousand, and possibly as many as several million, people may have been abducted by aliens or had related experiences, oftentimes without even knowing.11 Dr. Mack believed this because of the stories he heard from a number of people about their abduction experiences. No hard physical evidence exists to support these abductions, only stories. So, is there any credible evidence to support these extraordinary claims? Numerous scientific investigations reveal that when such claims are put to close scrutiny, the evidence falls away.12 In fact, the James Randi Educational Foundation has offered $1 million to anyone who can demonstrate a true psychic or paranormal phenomenon under well-controlled conditions. To date, no one has won the prize. We also believe many things that, on the surface seem reasonable, but just aren't true. Research has shown that many commonly held beliefs turn out to be false when put to empirical test. For example, many people believe we only use 10 percent of our brains, but there's no basis in neuroscience to support this claim.

What about the supersensitive hearing that the blind are said to develop? Not the case. How often have you thought that crime and drugs are out of control in the United States? Data show that violent crime rates have dropped 33 percent over a ten-year period ending in 2003, and the number of drug users is also down.13 While many people think that low self-esteem is a cause of aggression, empirical research indicates no connection.14 How about the perception that religious individuals are more altruistic than less religious people? Once again, a closer look reveals that religious people are no more likely to be charitable or help their fellow man than people who say they're atheists. Do opposites attract? Not according to the research. If you're happy in your job, will you be more productive? Not necessarily.15 But that would seem like "common sense," wouldn't it? We all believe in common sense. As psychologist Keith Stanovich notes, however, 150 years ago it was a matter of common sense that women shouldn't be allowed to vote and that blacks shouldn't be taught to read Faulty thinking can lead us to hold many unfounded beliefs. To learn still more about the content of your tapes, you need to become familiar with what I call fixed beliefs. Generally speaking, when a tape plays in your head, automatically speeding you toward a particular conclusion and a particular outcome, that tape is "taking orders" from your highest-level, most powerful, and organizational perceptions about how things are supposed to work. These organizing perceptions or worldviews are your fixed beliefs. Fixed beliefs reflect your overall understanding of your place in the world. They are "fixed" in the sense that you are no longer adding or subtracting new information; they are perceptions that have become rigid and unchanging. Fixed beliefs go with you everywhere you go and are basic to every part of your life. They influence every value you have, your perception of your basic worth as a human being, your core traits and characteristics. They tell you where your boundaries are. They contain your expectations about what ought to happen in your life.

Whether the issue is your relationships with the opposite sex, your fulfillment in the working world, or your interactions with your children or spouse, your fixed beliefs exert a powerful influence. Fixed beliefs express themselves through concepts like "should" and "must." They are, in truth, demands: demands for your compliance with a particular vision of what life is, demands for you not to make waves or disrupt the roles that others play. If your beliefs were not fixed, you might well be asking questions and forming new expectations that would disrupt the assigned order of your life. By contrast, these fixed beliefs are there to keep you "on task." A fixed belief keeps you within your assigned place in this world. It establishes the boundaries of what you are willing to accept from life. It's not good enough to be merely knowledgeable. You have to have motivation and effort attached to it to move forward with that newfound knowledge. It's the key to everything. In society today, people are at a point where they want to take the easy road, or they want things done for them. I hate to say it, but very few people want to work toward anything anymore. People have a sense of entitlement, which is not compatible with being conscious, aware, or anything mentioned previously. You have to be willing to dig deep inside. You have to be willing to change when need be. You have to decide, "Okay, I've had enough, and I don't want to live like this anymore." Then you go about identifying the situation, working through it, and becoming aware of it. You put forth the effort to change the status quo. It sounds simple, and it is, but too often people complicate things. It doesn't have to be so muddled. It is so blatantly simple to change if you identify, accept, and work through the areas where you need to change. There's a joke that makes this point: How many psychiatrists does it take to change a lightbulb? The answer: Just one, but the lightbulb has to want to change.