Most of us do, and for good reason. The health benefits of massages are varied and well documented. For starters, studies have shown that massages reduce cortisol--the stress hormone--by 31 percent, while at the same time increasing mood-boosting hormones like dopamine and serotonin by as much as a third. The mood-boosting benefits of massage are important, particularly for people suffering from depression. Massage also lowers stress and can improve sleep, which, as we've seen in earlier chapters, can have a dramatic impact on the severity of symptoms of depression. Why does massage make such a difference? According to psychologist Tiffany Field, director of the University of Miami Touch Research Institute, massage stimulates pressure receptors under the skin, which in turn stimulates the vagus nerve. The word vagus means "wandering," and this nerve does indeed wander all through the body, reaching the brain, gut, heart, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, kidney, spleen, and esophagus. Whether you want to create a closer friendship with someone just met, turn a business colleague into a business partner or turn your friendship into something more, the Foundation Bridge Principle is one of the most powerful ways you can experience and build rapport with everyone you meet (which is why I gave it its own mini section, so pay attention!) People react from an emotional place. If you can trigger an emotion or feeling in them, they'll feel a connection to you--and when it comes to being well liked, that's exactly what you're going for. The Foundation Bridge Principle is based upon storytelling, and then eases into a personal connection. Let's say that you've been invited to a happy hour. You're colleagues will all be, including your boss, and his assistant who you've been eyeing for a while now. The benefits of stimulating this nerve are many, but of particular interest to people with depression is the fact that stimulating this nerve has positive impacts on mood. In fact, there is an intervention used for severe depression called vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), which utilizes a device implanted beneath the skin to deliver electrical pulses to this nerve. Massages are an obviously less invasive and less costly way to stimulate this important nerve. According to Dr. Field, many forms of exercise can also stimulate our pressure receptors, providing benefits similar to those of getting a massage. This therapeutic technique does just what the name implies: it uses magnetic fields to stimulate parts of the brain associated with depression. This is a noninvasive treatment in which an electromagnet coil is placed on the scalp near the front of the head.

A magnetic pulse stimulates nerve cells related to mood and can increase activity in parts of the brain that are typically underactive for people with depression. Sessions last about half an hour and are delivered five days a week for up to six weeks. Now, you could sit in the background, listening to everyone talk more than you're talking yourself (in which you'll feel invisible, and you are sick and tired of feeling invisible) or you can join the conversation and bring a whole new level of connection the group hasn't come across in years. The first step of meal prep is having your ingredients on hand before you feel hungry. I highly recommend a routine of going food shopping for kitchen staples and special ingredients you will need for the next few days. Because if eating a meal is predicated on first buying the groceries, you're already hungry when you go to the market so will grab whatever is available--which won't be the healthiest choice. Or you'll order in or go out to eat instead. When you buy what you need in advance, it will be just a touch easier to prepare it when scheduled and then eat it at the planned time. If you shop for food in the European style and are in the habit of picking up just a few ingredients each day, you can still routinely stop at the store before your hunger floodgates open. The goal is to plan and buy what you'll need before you are hungry. Then you can schedule routine times to prepare those ingredients. The Foundation Bridge Principle involves telling a story to engage people and attract them to you. So, if the group is talking about the latest pitch the made to a best-selling author, you could tell a story about that one time you bumped into a best-selling author and dropped your glass of wine all over their white pants. Fill out every section of a claim form. I've learned over the years, personally and professionally, to fill out every inch of a claim form. Though it's not always necessary to do so, it ensures that "nothing is left out"--a classic delay tactic health organizations use. Consider sending claims via registered or certified mail. To ensure that your claims are "received," it may be worth the extra money to send them through the post with a signature guarantee. This postal strategy officially documents that your claim has been delivered. It also begins the time clock as your insurance carrier has a deadline to return your claim.

Sending your claims via registered or certified mail makes it harder for them to say there is no record of your claim or it wasn't received. Copy all documents. I make copies of every claim I submit personally and professionally. If an insurance carrier says that there's missing information or it's filled out incorrectly, I pull out my copy and challenge the so-called error. Then, I kindly inform how I will be contacting the state attorney and insurance departments if the claim is not cleared for payment immediately. This is when having the claim representative's name and the date, time, and content of the discussion makes for good use. No one wants to be the responsible named party in a lodged complaint. Know your state attorney general. Every U.S. state attorney general has a healthcare bureau or department where you can file a grievance and have them work on your behalf to fight insurance companies. Be prepared by having your state attorney general's name and contact information when you call your healthcare carrier. Inform the customer representative that you'll be seeking the help of the state attorney general--and follow through if your situation is not remedied. Know your state insurance department contact information. Every U.S. state also has an insurance department where you can seek guidance and lodge a formal complaint. You should also have this information at your fingertips when you query your insurance carrier. Remember, follow through and file your complaint. Don't make hollow threats. If you are one of the fifty million children and adults who don't have health coverage, there are ways to get the care you need for your depression. Smile while you tell that story, or laugh at your clumsiness.

Chances are, your audience (who you've now captivated with your wit and charming story) will encourage them to join in and tell a story of their own. This demonstrates how you can make sure your meals occur at predictable times. Doing so will prevent overeating because a schedule like this has no room for munching in between your planned meals and snacks, which occur every 3 to 4 hours. This will also help if you struggle to eat enough and will stave off the "Woops! I forgot to eat" and the "I'm so stressed I lost my appetite" moments. With a routine, your body gets ready to eat at these regular times. Being able to successfully follow a daily meal routine does require you to also have a habit in place for doing the necessary food prep work. Then your food is ready for you, and you can eat on cue. Though at times you'll eat out or order in, generally the best way to eat foods that nourish your unique needs involves prepping meals in your own kitchen ahead of mealtime. Before you know it, you'll achieved a connection to others than before this story, you just worked with. But, now that you've told a story they like and were emotionally drawn to (through the effective Foundation Bridge Principle), you know have a group of co-workers who you work with, and are FRIENDS with. This treatment is often tried when other treatments--such as antidepressants--have not resulted in improvement. Among those who receive this treatment, more than half experience improvements, and a third report that their symptoms are eliminated completely. And while relapse can occur, a study reported in the Journal of Affective Disorders determined that patients who received maintenance TMS treatments were significantly less likely to relapse than those who did not receive additional treatments. Another study out of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago showed a low relapse rate among the 301 patients who took part in the study, and according to lead researcher Philip Janicak, MD, the results "further support TMS as a viable treatment option for patients with major depression who have not responded to conventional antidepressant medications." It's the basic question every person should ask themself every now and then. A person is more likely to find satisfaction in their job and be better at it if they pursue work goals that are in line with their core values, or are what psychologists call "self-concordant." A pair of researchers found that those pursuing goals in line with their interests put more sustained effort into accomplishing the goals and felt a greater sense of well-being when they accomplished them. The researchers validated this through a study of 169 students who were asked to list ten personal goals they wanted to pursue for the semester. They were asked to rank from one to ten their reasons for pursuing each goal (e.g., "you pursue this striving because of the fun and enjoyment it provides you"). Throughout the semester, they noted how much effort they were putting in toward each goal and rated their progress on each.

There was a positive correlation between self-concordant goals and both effort toward and attainment of the goals, compared to those that were not. The study also found that those who achieved these goals felt a greater sense of well-being than those who pursued goals based on more external pressures. * Ask yourself why you are working on a particular project, or even in the line of work you're pursuing. If you aren't doing it because you are passionate about it or feel it aligns with who you truly are, sooner or later, the work will become a slog. Whatever meaning you are drawing from your job, one thing is for certain: Doing it for money won't bring you happiness. Numerous studies have found no correlation between higher salaries and higher levels of happiness. Surveys of the wealthiest Americans find their happiness scores on par with the Amish. A survey of thousands of twins found that income accounted for less than 2 percent of the difference in their respective levels of well-being. A good rule of thumb: $80K is enough. Researchers have found that once a person earns an average of $75,000 per year, they experience a "happiness plateau." Those making millions may be able to buy nice things, but they don't enjoy a higher level of happiness commensurate with the higher salary. When happiness does relate to a person's paycheck, it's usually in how it compares to other workers in that person's peer group. A pair of researchers drawing on data from 5,000 British workers found that their reported satisfaction levels were higher when they compared themselves to people making less than they did. One other point they found: While absolute pay did not predict a person's sense of satisfaction, their education did--as in, the higher their education level, the lower their sense of life satisfaction. The researchers suggested that this was because of the higher aspirations that education creates. Make a list of possible social outings you can do in the next 2-3 weeks and make a commitment to attend at least one per week. Create a list of time frames for socializing in a notebook. The first time you go to a party or a bar, commit to at least 15 minutes and conversation with one person. Move up from there to 30 minutes and beyond. Write down three embarrassing memories you have of social interactions. Now, consciously ignore them whenever they pop up in a social setting.