Go out one day this week and only pay attention to the cues people use in conversation. Try to determine if someone is an audible, visual, or kinaesthetic thinker. Practice mirroring the posture and actions of a friend and ask them afterwards if it was obvious. Work toward a comfortable medium between mirroring and them realizing your actions. Write down five icebreakers you would like to use for a new conversation and take notes on how those conversations proceed. Write down three mundane things that happened to you today. Now, make an interesting story out of each. Record it and play it back tomorrow to see if it is still interesting. Record three things you can do to provide direct value to someone you've just met. Food prep? Are you someone who would rather pass on it and put something premade in the microwave? Regardless of how it gets done, what is important is that you are prepared to eat balanced meals on a schedule. Here are some suggestions you can experiment with to see if food prep can become more enjoyable. Pair food preparation with something you enjoy--like listening to music, NPR, or a podcast you love--as you chop and simmer. Sliding Scale and Pro-bono Services. Many, but not all, psychotherapists make accommodations to see children and adults at low fees (sliding scale) or no fee (pro bono). When seeking therapy, you should ask during the initial phone call if sliding-fee or pro-bono services are available. You may also contact your local psychological, social work, and psychiatric societies to see if any members provide these services. My first experience in psychotherapy was at a low fee, something that was helpful, since I was in college and making very little money. When I was older and able to afford more, I paid full fees to my therapists and supervisors.

When hard times fell again, they accommodated me and lowered their fees. Professionally, I set aside time to provide sessions at low fees and no fees. Not only is it my way to give back what I once found so valuable, but it also makes services affordable to individuals who don't have healthcare coverage. University Programs. Many university and college programs offer psychotherapy to children and adults at low fees. Generally staffed by graduate students earning degrees in related psychotherapy fields, the treatment takes place in the university setting. These "therapists-in-training" are supervised by licensed mental-health professionals who oversee the treatment. If you are interested in pursuing this possibility, make inquiries at local colleges and universities to find out which ones have community psychotherapy centers. Keep in mind that these are student therapists and that continuity of treatment could be interrupted should the student be required to move on to other training assignments. Postdoctoral or Postgraduate Psychotherapy Centers. Another avenue to obtain low-cost therapy is to consider working with an already-licensed mental-health expert who is pursuing a postgraduate degree in psychotherapy. By and large, these professionals have a desire to become even more specialized in the field of psychotherapy--and they seek training programs to hone their skills. Similar to university centers, they offer low-fee treatment. Unlike university centers, sessions commonly occur in the therapist's office, and there is no worry of treatment interruption. Generally speaking, long-term therapy with the same therapist is the norm here. To learn more, research local postdoctoral or postgraduate psychotherapy programs in your area. Contacting local psychological, psychiatric, and social work organizations can also help point you in the right direction. Begin preheating the oven before your favorite show. During a commercial break or a pause at the ten-minute mark, put whatever you're preparing--fish, chicken, veggies, potatoes--in the oven. Then keep it cooking while your show continues.

Make it a social activity and invite someone to join you. Try a meal delivery service that sends fresh ingredients to your door. This can streamline your time, as it eliminates the need for going to the grocery store with an itemized list--which is time consuming when you use recipes. Keep it simple, and create a personal challenge, by limiting the number of ingredients you use per dish. Chop your vegetables after you get home from the market, before you pop them in the refrigerator. This will help you when you get hungry and just want to reach for something. Also, you can easily throw a handful into a plastic container to bring with you on the go. Cook up a storm once a month and freeze individual meals that you can pop in the microwave or in the oven when you're ready for them. If you really, truly hate food prep, see if you can negotiate so that someone else in your household does the dirty work. Life is short, right? On a scale of 1-10 how comfortable are you in a 1 on 1 conversation? While most research evaluates the impact of stand-alone TMS, in the real world this treatment option is often combined with talk therapy and other treatments. At The Center, we have found that TMS works best when combined with our whole-person approach. One of the reasons to familiarize yourself with the many treatments for depression is because the mental health field is always changing and growing. You have access today to interventions that did not exist five years ago; five years from now you will have access to even more. Wherever you are in your pursuit of better mental and emotional health, there is always room for growth and improvement. It's true that among the dozens of depression-related treatments, some are "out there"--unproven and unsubstantiated by solid research. Many others, however, are based on scientific study and are worth exploring. Use commonsense precautions, conduct your own research, and if in doubt, discuss your intended treatment option with your physician. The important message here is to continue learning and trying new things.

One of the hallmarks of depression is losing interest in many things, including personal development. And this is exactly why you must make ongoing efforts to explore and embrace new ideas and behaviors, particularly when they have the potential for creating lasting, positive changes in your life. State and County Clinics. There are over fifteen hundred free clinics in the United States, providing health services to children and adults who have no healthcare coverage. As a rule, you go through a clinic screening, where your overall health is evalu-ated. Most clinics have case managers that will help you find mental-health services. The National Association of Free Clinics is a great satellite organization that catalogs clinics in every state. As mentioned earlier, if you have no health insurance, you may be eligible to get medication from patient assistance programs and prescription assistance programs. Get hold of a discount prescription card, which will help defray costs of medication. Stop putting so much importance on making more at work. A fatter paycheck is not going to make your smile any wider. A separate study of the Forbes 400 richest Americans found them just slightly happier than the Maasai people of East Africa--hunter-gatherers who live in mud huts without electricity or running water. Viewing your activities as part of a long-term goal improves your mood--on a chemical level. Participants in a study were asked about personal and family goals, rated their mood, and assessed the relevance of their current activity to these goals during the day, every three hours over a week. At each check-in, subjects also provided saliva samples so their levels of cortisol--informally known as the "stress hormone"--could be measured. Activities that participants identified as furthering their goals correlated with more positive mood ratings and lower levels of cortisol in their saliva, suggesting that goal-oriented behavior is important to mood and stress management. Make a daily goal chart and track how each step forward is moving you toward accomplishing a long-term goal. Demonstrating happiness--a "positive affect," as psychologists call it--can provide a wide range of benefits. A study from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley found that expressing positive emotions brings three distinct benefits to the workplace: It improves your own job performance (with enhanced cognitive functioning and greater persistence in working on tasks). It improves your response to others (you are more likely to help others).

In the Berkeley study, workers who displayed positive emotions at their job received more favorable supervisor evaluations and greater pay eighteen months later. The happier employees also had greater support from supervisors and coworkers. Smile at work, and don't be afraid to show when you're feeling happy--it can create a range of positive side effects. Researchers have found that freely choosing to take on a task maintains or even increases your energy level, while feeling controlled tends to make your energy flag. A pair of researchers looked at samples from a pain treatment center and a weight-loss clinic. They found that those who reported more autonomy in their reasons for treatment showed more vitality, and "less vitality when they perceived themselves as controlled by external forces," as the researchers put it. These findings can be extended to work: Even those who do not enjoy the work they are engaged in, or see it as a necessary evil, are likely to go about it with more energy if given some control or autonomy over how it's done or their reason for doing it. But the list doesn't stop there. Additional physical conditions that can contribute to depression include hypothyroidism or thyroid deficiency, menopause, low testosterone in men, diabetes, childbirth, and even puberty. And if a condition you are addressing with medication isn't linked to depression, the medication you are taking could be. There are literally hundreds of medications on the market today with depression as a possible side effect. Oral contraceptives, for example, can hinder the production of serotonin, affecting mood and sleep. Certain acid reflux interventions (like Prilosec), blood pressure medications, anxiety medications, and painkillers have the potential of causing depression. In fact, based on a study of 26,192 adults published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers concluded that an estimated one out of three adults in America is taking medications for which potential side effects include depression and/or suicidal thoughts. So where does this leave you? What steps can you take to make sure past (or current) health issues are not contributing to feelings of depression? Many people have the attitude of "ignore it and hope it goes away." In this case, ignorance is not bliss. Most health concerns are like cavities in your teeth: they're not going to get better; in fact, they will likely get worse without treatment from a skilled professional. When it comes to your physical, mental, and emotional health, denial is not your friend. Sometimes we have every intention of getting to a doctor or addressing an issue.