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Ironically enough, even positive stressful events such as the birth of a new baby or a wedding can have the same effect on the body's cortisol levels. As you can see in the section on postpartum depression, new mothers can be particularly vulnerable to symptoms of depression though, in most cases, they tend not to be that serious. For that matter, chronic depression itself could become a stressor given the mental strain involved in trying to cope. The nervous system becomes overstimulated with the stress of coping, and this is followed by the exhaustion stage as the body tries to recover. Not surprisingly, many people suffering from depressive episodes can report feeling exhausted, though, given that their original depression is still there, they often become despondent as well as lose hope of getting better. Research also shows that depressed people often have significantly elevated levels of cortisol in their bloodstreams. The greater the emotional distress, the higher the cortisol levels become as well, not to mention other hormones linked to stress. But studies have also found significant differences in brain structure between people with severe depression and control subjects. For example, people suffering from depression appear to have a hippocampus that is 15 percent smaller than in people without depression. The amygdala is also much larger than normal. Both the hippocampus and amygdala are critical components of the brain's limbic system, which regulates our ability to regulate emotion. Third, kids come in different sizes and ages. While a one-year-old baby who denies you your sleep for months may make you miserable right now, fifty years from now that child may be a source of joy when you're sitting in a retirement home. Studies also show that, among widows and widowers, having a child has a positive effect on life satisfaction. Something to bear in mind with all these stories is that Having Kids Makes People Less Happy' is better clickbait thanStudies Show the Effects of Children on Happiness are Mixed, Depending on the Dimensions of Happiness Measured and the Complexity of a Dynamic Lifetime Relationship'. But that still leaves us with the question of why parents with young kids report lower levels of overall life satisfaction than their non-parent peers. Well, what we see is that the happiness gap depends on where we measure it. Parents in the US are 12 per cent less satisfied with their life than their non-parent peers; in Britain, the gap is 8 per cent; in Denmark, it is 3 per cent. There is a small happiness gap in Sweden and Norway of around 2 per cent - but in Sweden and Norway parents are happier than people without kids. The Scandinavian countries consistently come out on top in family-friendly rankings; however, Sweden outperforms Denmark for balancing family and work.

For instance, Swedish parents are entitled to spend sixty days a year at home caring for a sick child under the age of twelve. A team of researchers led by Jennifer Glass, a professor of sociology at the University of Texas, examined the parental happiness gap and the level of freedom parents could enjoy in each country. Among the questions they asked were: Is childcare affordable? Is leave available to look after a sick child? Is paid holiday given? In other words, are parents provided with the tools and freedom which help them to combine working and having a family? The results showed that the happiness gap was explained by differences in such family-friendly policies. In countries with the best packages, the parental happiness penalty was eliminated. However, the happiest parents seem to be found in Portugal. No situation can ever force you to conduct yourself in an ignorant, trashy, belligerent, and childish way - even if your emotions tell you different. You are in 100% control of your behavior 100% of the time. Even if a situation or person is pushing you to conduct yourself in a way unbecoming of someone who has their act together, never give them the satisfaction of seeing you lose your poise, composure, and class. A few years ago, my ex-girlfriend who lived with me was going out with her best friend, a girl, pretty often and since I'm a secure and confident guy, I didn't have a problem with it. But when I found out her best friend was dropping her off at some dude's house and then picking her up and bringing her back to me, it hurt my feelings, as you would guess. What do you think I did? Went crazy and destroyed her stuff? Threw it in the driveway and put on a show for the neighbors? Of course not. I wasn't about to look weak and give my power away to anyone, especially her. While she was gone, I calmly packed her stuff, set it nicely by the front door, and when she got home, in confusion, she asked, "What the f*ck is this?" to which I, nonchalantly, replied, "Oh, that's your stuff." "No shit!

What is it doing here, Marc?" to which I said, "I'm helping you leave so you can go move in with the guy you've been seeing 3 nights a week. Figured it might save your friend some gas money." Mad that I was being so nonchalant about it, she went completely berserk. Screaming, yelling, calling me names, etc. Again, what do you think I did? Got angry and defensive? Yelled back? I remained calm, cool, collected and didn't call her names back. After she left and started harassing me with angry and abusive texts and calls, I continued to conduct myself in a classy manner. When others are acting trashy and ignorant, let them behave the way they're going to. You only have the power to control how you conduct yourself in that moment and stooping down to their level won't help. It has been said that the measure of a society is how it treats its poor, disadvantaged, and ill. We have problems here as well. That's the third vector. Hospitals, clinics, doctors, and even nurses eschew "addicts," don't want them cluttering their emergency rooms, medical wards, and offices. Medical professionals, ostensibly trained to diagnose and treat people with illnesses with respect, can be judgmental about addictions. The actions of some health services and professionals still reflect the long-standing belief that addiction is a moral failure, not a medical illness. Due to stigma, an addicted person's efforts to secure opioids from a doctor is not seen as a communication, a call for help, but as an exploitative move that needs to be countered with rejection. Championed by former congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, with bipartisan support, this essential law was meant to counteract the discrimination against the proper detection and treatment of mental and substance use disorders rampant among medical insurers and health plans across the country. Yet it was many years before the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) wrote the regulations needed to give the law its prescribed applications and enable enforcement.

Some mental health and addiction managed-care plans sued to prevent the law from being acted upon, eventually losing, but in the meantime siphoning time and money away from care. In recent years, it has taken lawsuits to get payers to comply, as happened in New York State under Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. In 2016, President Obama ordered a task force from the Department of Labor and HHS to better overcome the barriers to this law's implementation. It costs money to treat addictions, but it costs a lot more money not to. But the money buckets are separate and incentives are perverse: money not spent on treatment saves insurance payers, but costs accrue elsewhere in social-welfare, police, and correctional programs. Legal action will be needed to help drive change, since financial and moral forces are not effectively making treatment more accessible and affordable. Critical resources are also impacted when a person is diagnosed with an addiction. They may not be able to buy health or life insurance or only at prohibitive rates. Public housing can be denied if a person has been imprisoned, even for a nonviolent drug-possession offense. Colleges and universities tend to avoid youth with behavior problems, including addiction. And no one puts their substance use disorder on a job application unless they don't want the job. Being generally pessimistic, procrastinators often worry that after taking action, that they will be disappointed with their results. Although a non-procrastinator would readily see the falsehood of this line of thinking, it makes perfect sense to the procrastinator, because if you haven't accomplished anything for a long while, you don't have any hard evidence with which to prove that acting often results in favorable outcomes. In short, the procrastinator believes that any action on his part will probably not yield a positive outcome. This particular characteristic of habitual procrastination will be dealt with in greater detail in the next section of this chapter. If you are at the point where it seems as though "everything takes forever," remember that although this may seem true, this is only a feeling, and feelings are not facts. For now, try not to overwhelm yourself with worry over how capable or incapable you may or may not be; after all, we can all stand some improvement in our own lives. All we want to do right now is continue observing the characteristics and behaviors of the human ostrich, in order to gain a better perspective of how procrastination has the ability to affect us. Doom and gloom fill the minds of many habitual procrastinators. Plans are vague, goals are unattainable, and results seem uncontrollable.

When it comes to our tasks, we not only start off on a sour note, but we also amplify the negative. For example, when faced with the task of mopping the living room floor after accidentally spilling food, my internal negative chatter would run all the way from a terribly derogatory self-statement, to the convoluted logic of "Why did I even bother?" Here's how that internal conversation went: "I'm such an idiot for spilling that." "I hate mopping." "How long is this going to take?" "Am I mopping correctly?" "What if the stain is still there afterwards?" "It's no use--it's not going to make a difference." "It's almost all gone, but I don't think I can get it one hundred percent clean." And finally: "Other people may think the floor is clean, but I'll know what happened." While these results may also be the result of stress (e.g., the amygdala also regulates cortisol levels), the link between brain anatomy and depression seems to be very real. Other brain differences linked to depression include abnormally small neurons and fewer glial cells in the brain's prefrontal cortex; research, though, is still ongoing. Despite all the research showing biological markers linked to depression, the question of cause and effect still hasn't been answered. Are these different biological factors causing the depression or are they the result of being depressed? And then there is the potential impact of stress on the body, which is still being explored. The changes in the brain's biochemistry and anatomy that have been associated with depression may actually be caused by how our bodies cope with stress. At this point, it appears safe to say that depression is an extremely complex disorder that can be linked to both psychological and biological factors. As we have seen in previous sections, people may become vulnerable to depression for various reasons, including family history, early childhood problems, trauma, or life problems. Understanding these different causal factors and what can make people more susceptible to becoming depressed will be critical in finding better ways to prevent depression and to treat the symptoms as they develop. In Portugal, grandparents serve as a fundamental support base for parents and have a functional role in the raising of grandchildren. According to a comprehensive study which was initiated in 2005 and has since monitored the routines of six thousand children and thousands of parents and grandparents, Portuguese grandparents play a key role in the day-to-day life of Portuguese families and help with the daily routine of looking after their grandchildren. An impressive 72 per cent said that grandparents were their primary partners in the education of their children and helped with homework and extracurricular activities. When six grown-ups instead of two take an active part in and responsibility for accompanying the kids to school, supervising homework, cooking, taking the kids to sports and other clubs and doing other chores, it provides the parents with more freedom and free time - and, as it turns out, greater levels of happiness. Jennifer Glass explained to the New York Times that all the countries surveyed had more extensive policies to support working families than the US. This issue has also been raised by British comedian and host of the TV show Last Week Tonight John Oliver, who pointed out in a Mother's Day special that the US and Papua New Guinea are the only two countries in the world that do not have a policy in place to give mothers paid time off after having a baby, and added that if America really loved its mothers, then it would go beyond celebrating them once a year and implement a policy that would help them in their daily lives. Until the US addresses this issue, according to Oliver, the only message that should go out on Mother's Day is: `Mothers - we owe everything to them. They gave birth to us, they nurtured us, and they made us who we are. And this Mother's Day, we have just one thing to say to all the mothers out there: Get the fuck back to work.' When you have your act together, you, naturally, respect everyone, from the man begging on the street corner to the man signing your paychecks, because you're secure and don't have anything to prove to anyone. You respect everyone the same.