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The attachment bond has been a big part of my arrival to these conclusions. I would not be who I am today had I not possessed those feelings of restlessness, wondering what would happen to me and how it would all turn out. View each event as a huge blessing and learning experience, and see where it takes you, even if your attachment is insecure. Sometimes where life takes you is even more impressive. Remember, "You choose your friends, not your family." Even if you haven't formed healthy attachment bonds within your family early on, positive attachments can be formed elsewhere. Parents, you need to get out and spend time with your children. The early years, particularly from birth to five years old, is when children develop the social skills that will guide them through life and motivate them. When they start putting together all those skills gleaned from playtime, it creates the foundation for a strong identity and the confidence to pursue the expectations that fuel achievement, whether scholastic, social, or vocational. You can have an immeasurably large impact on your children, encouraging them to create and pursue expectations for any of life's endeavors. We don't have children only to let them drift aimlessly or without purpose. We must be the guiding light for our children, the beacon that leads them on a path to excellence and high expectations. Parents, community leaders, and business managers face a similar challenge: how to set and communicate high expectations. After all, success in life, academic excellence, and economic achievement depend on establishing lofty standards and fostering the mindset and good habits to meet them. In this regard, it is critically important for role models (parents, coaches, teachers, bosses) to inspire others toward worthy goals. How can you convey high expectations? How do we stop email messages we never want to hear from again? If the email is a newsletter you signed up for in the past but no longer find useful, the best thing you can do is hit the Unsubscribe button at the bottom of the email. As someone who writes such a newsletter, I can tell you that we newsletter writers want you to unsubscribe if you are no longer interested. We pay email service providers per email address on our list, so we prefer to send only to those who find them useful. However, some spammy marketers make it hard to find the Unsubscribe button, or might even stubbornly keep sending you emails even after you've unsubscribed.

For such cases, I recommend sending them into the "black hole." I use SaneBox, a simple program that runs in the background as I use email. Whenever I encounter an email I absolutely never want to hear from again, I click a button to send that sender's email to my Sane-BlackHole folder. Once there, SaneBox's software ensures I'll never hear from that sender again. Of course, managing unwanted email messages takes time, but by reducing the likelihood of unwanted messages creeping into your inbox, you'll see the number dwindle to a trickle instead of a torrent. Now that we've covered ways to reduce the number of emails we receive (the n in our equation), let's transition to the second variable--t, the amount of time we spend writing emails. There's mounting evidence that processing your email in batches is much more efficient and less stress inducing than checking it throughout the day. This is because our brains take time to switch between tasks, so it's better to focus on answering emails all at once. I know what you're thinking--you can't wait all day to check email. I understand. I too need to check my inbox to make sure there's nothing truly urgent. Checking email isn't so much the problem; it's the habitual rechecking that gets us into trouble. See if this sounds familiar: An icon tells you that you have an email, so you click and scroll through your inbox. While there, you read message after message to see if anything requires an immediate reply, leaving anything that doesn't for another time. Later in the day, you open your inbox and, forgetting precisely what was in the messages you read earlier, you reopen them. But you don't have time to respond to them all. Later that evening, you go through the emails again. If you're anything like I used to be, you might reopen some messages an embarrassing number of times. What a waste! Mastery involves doing something that is difficult and that challenges you a little. This may be learning a new skill or hobby, or overcoming an obstacle.

When you work on a Mastery activity, you will feel more competent and effective, and you will gain a sense of achievement. Give yourself credit for trying. Distress Tolerance strategies involve using skills to help you get through the crisis of a difficult moment. These skills include distracting yourself, soothing yourself, providing solace, and improving the moment itself. In a crisis you may sometimes feel a sense of urgency or desire to act impulsively. This can interfere with your efforts to manage depression and remain stable. Working to develop your tolerance for distress over a short period can help you get through the rough moments. The symptoms of major depression and bipolar disorder often fluctuate, or change up and down over time. It is important to understand that you will have fluctuations as part of the illness. The frequency and pattern of these changes will vary with each person. One way to identify your patterns is to track your symptoms on a Mood Chart each day and share it with your physician. At some point following an episode of depression or bipolar disorder, you may have a return of symptoms, often called a recurrence or a relapse. A relapse is the return of full symptoms after an episode from which you have partially recovered (partial recovery means feeling improved but with a few remaining symptoms). A recurrence is the return of full symptoms following an episode from which you have fully recovered. Your chance of having a relapse or recurrence of depression depends in part on how many prior episodes you have had. This means that the more episodes of depression you have experienced, the greater your chance of symptoms returning at some point. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to decrease the chance of relapse. Mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy has also been shown to reduce the risk of relapse and recurrence in some patients. In addition to CBT and other psychotherapy, you can take some preventive steps to manage your own symptoms and in this way improve the quality of your life. Relapse Prevention is an effective daily approach to help you minimize the chance of a relapse occurring and to help you stay well.

Relapse Prevention means that you identify and respond promptly to changes in your Warning Signs, Triggers, or Symptoms of mood disorder. With this strategy, you can intervene when an important change in your emotional health may be happening. Early identification and intervention helps to prevent your episode from worsening. What about all those other mysterious experiences that yield physical evidence? It turns out that when these experiences are carefully investigated, reasonable explanations typically prevail. For example, my friend Shawn once thought that the spirit of his deceased grandfather was visiting his condo. Why? The door to the downstairs, where his grandfather used to spend a lot of time, was mysteriously locking. This particular type of door could only be locked from the inside, and to do so, you had to push and turn the button on the door handle. How could that happen with no one in the room? The only explanation was a ghostly visitor. Intrigued, I went to examine the door. It turned out that the lock button was sticking, so it just had to be pushed in, but not turned, to set the lock. And, since there was no door stop to prevent the door from hitting the wall when opened, the button was depressed and locked by the wall when the door was thrown open. Time after time, when critically examined, supernatural explanations give way to natural ones. So does this mean that ghosts don't exist? Not necessarily. It just means that we don't have strong evidence to support that they do exist. But without such evidence, doesn't it make sense to withhold our belief in ghosts at this time? The point is, we have to examine the quality of the evidence for a claim before accepting it.

On first glance, there may appear to be considerable evidence to support the existence of ghosts. After all, we have tape recordings, pictures, and personal experiences. But a lot of bad evidence is still bad evidence--sheer volume cannot make the evidence any better.2 Unfortunately, when we form our beliefs, we often give too much importance to the amount of evidence and too little to its quality. Remember the silicon breast implant controversy discussed earlier? People became convinced that implants cause major disease because thousands of women reported serious illness after receiving implants. But a link was not established between the implants and the illnesses. It seemed that there was a lot of evidence, but it was all low-quality, anecdotal data. The volume of evidence in support of a claim should not be the primary factor when setting our beliefs. With evidence, quality is king. As we saw earlier with the case of facilitated communication, a single rigorously controlled study provided much more compelling evidence on the technique's usefulness than did a thousand personal stories. And yet, we are quick to believe extraordinary claims on the basis of rather thin evidence. We believe in alien encounters and talking with the dead just because some people report they had a personal experience. But if someone makes such an extraordinary claim, they should have some pretty extraordinary evidence, especially if the claim goes against many of the well-supported physical laws of our universe. Some followers of transcendental meditation believe that they can levitate their bodies several inches off the ground during meditation. Should we accept their word for it? If we do, we would have to reject what we already know about gravity. What if we saw it for ourselves? Remember, magicians like David Blaine amaze people by levitating right on the sidewalks of New York. We can be fooled into believing something that isn't actually happening. The entire world of magic depends on it.