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It's important to note that research on St John's wort for treating major depression, cyclothymia, or any of the bipolar disorders is limited. St John's wort impacts the neurotransmitter systems of serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Side effects are generally well tolerated and include gastrointestinal distress, allergy to the sun (photosensitivity), and fatigue. With mild depression, St John's wort should be used as a singular treatment, because there are risks when combining SJW with traditional antidepressants. SJW can be purchased in grocery stores, drugstores, and health-food stores. While SJW doesn't require a prescription, be mindful to follow dosage directions to gain the full benefit. I've been living with depression long enough to try all of these alternative therapies. I've found that some of them provide great support in managing my depression. I take my medication daily, but use light therapy as a supplemental treatment in the winter months. I've actually tried all three kinds of light therapy: (1) full-spectrum light, where bulbs create the feel of natural sunlight; (2) broad-spectrum light, which throws off a full spectrum of light without the danger of ultraviolet rays; and (3) blue-light therapy, in which intensive blue lights shine. I've felt less depressed and slept better with light therapy. What I do most days, though, is read or meditate in a sunny spot. I enjoy the warmth of the sun and the color of its hue better than sitting in the vicinity of an artificial light. The Buddha provided us with five very basic tools for dealing with others in a kindhearted way. These tools are the five precepts. Some people think of morality as restrictions on freedom, but in fact, these precepts liberate us. They free us from the suffering we cause ourselves and others when we act unkindly. These guidelines train us to protect others from harm; and, by protecting others, we protect ourselves. The precepts caution us to abstain from taking life, from stealing, from sexual misconduct, from speaking falsely or harshly, and from using intoxicants that cause us to act in an unmindful way. Developing mindfulness through the practice of meditation also helps us relate to others with loving friendliness.

On the cushion, we watch our minds as liking and disliking arise. We teach ourselves to relax our mind when such thoughts arise. We learn to see attachment and aversion as momentary states, and we learn to let them go. Meditation helps us look at the world in a new light and gives us a way out. The deeper we go in our practice, the more skills we develop. When we are angry with someone, we often latch on to one particular aspect of that person. Usually it's only a moment or two, enough for a few harsh words, a certain look, a thoughtless action. In our minds, the rest of that person drops away. All that is left is the part that pushed our buttons. When we do this, we are isolating one miniscule fraction of the whole person as something real and solid. We are not seeing all the factors and forces that shaped that person. We focus on only one aspect of that person--the part that made us angry. Over the years, I have received many letters from prisoners who are seeking to learn the Dhamma. Some have done terrible things, even murder. And yet they see things differently now and want to change their lives. There was one letter that was particularly insightful and deeply touched my heart. In it, the writer described how the other inmates shouted and jeered whenever the guard appeared. The inmate tried to explain to the others that this guard was also a human being, but the others were blinded by hatred. All they could see, he said, was the uniform, not the man inside it. When we are angry with someone, we can ask ourselves, "Am I angry at the hair on that person's head?

Am I angry at his skin? His teeth? His brain? His heart? His sense of humor? His tenderness? His generosity? His smile?" When we take the time to consider all the many elements and processes that make up a person, our anger naturally softens. Through the practice of mindfulness, we learn to see both ourselves and others more clearly. Understanding helps us to relate to others with loving friendliness. Within each of us is a core of goodness. In some, as in the case of Angulimala, we cannot see this true nature. Understanding the concept of "no-self" softens our heart and helps us forgive the unkind actions of others. We learn to relate to ourselves and others with loving friendliness. But, what if someone hurts you? What if someone insults you? You may want to retaliate--which is a very human response. But, where does that lead? "Hatred is never appeased by more hatred," it says in the Dhammapada. An angry response only leads to more anger.

If you respond to anger with loving friendliness, the other person's anger will not increase. Slowly it may fade away. "By love alone is anger appeased," continues the verse in the Dhammapada. What supplements should you consider as part of your whole-person approach to defeating depression? Before you begin taking any, I would recommend talking to your health care provider to determine which supplements are best for your needs, and what potential interactions (if any) they might have with any prescriptions you may be taking. Still, this list may serve as a good starting point for that discussion. I have organized a variety of supplements into categories based on their impact on mood, cognition, stress, and sleep. Much of this information is drawn from my collaboration with Redd Remedies, with whom I developed a line of supplements called Hope & Possibility. (You can find more information about Redd Remedies and the Hope & Possibility line at ReddRemedies.com.)[4] When it comes to boosting mood, the following supplements can be very effective. Here are the supplements I recommend most often to achieve an overall lifting of the mood: 5-HTP is a naturally occurring nutrient derived from the seed pods of the West African plant Griffonia simplicifolia. It acts as a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, boosting levels in the brain. As a result, 5-HTP can improve mood, as well as relieve anxiety, depression, insomnia, and the urge to stress eat. Research also suggests that 5-HTP may ease some stress-related conditions such as PMS, migraines, and even fibromyalgia. L-tyrosine is an amino acid that acts as a precursor of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine. When taken during times of low mood, it can boost energy and alertness, leading to depression relief. Vitamin B12 and folic acid play a role in producing brain chemicals that can affect cognition and mood. Regular consumption of B12 and folic acid not only reduces the risk of depression, it may also boost mental performance. But because these two nutrients work as a team, it's important to take them together. Vitamin D appears to work in the same way as many antidepressants by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain. Researchers from the University of Toronto, in a review of the effectiveness of vitamin D in treating mood disorders, found that vitamin D supplements administered during the winter months, when sunlight exposure is low, tended to improve mood.

Rapport is a powerful tool that salesmen, pickup artists, and politicians alike harness and generate out of thin air. You may not become the next great meet and greeter, but you can tap into what people are feeling and make the most out of a meeting with little more than the basic tools I'm about to show you. While many books will talk about developing rapport and creating a connection with someone you just met (especially the dating guru guides), most of them skip something very important - the idea of natural rapport. Believe it or not, every single person has some degree of connection with every other individual on the planet. You could meet someone for the first time and feel at least some connection with them. You are both humans, have undergone the same growth and development cycles and are bound to understand at least a handful of things the same way. Truly likable people are those who can determine where that natural rapport lies and tap into it immediately, building on it with as many interactions as possible. It's like having radar that tells you what the person you've just met thinks of you and what they desire in someone they've just met. Natural rapport is powerful and if you tap into it effectively, it can develop into a long term connection with any random stranger you happen to run into. But, there is another kind of rapport that seemingly comes out of thin air - chance rapport. This is when you run into someone who just so happens to have the same interests, beliefs, values, or ideas as you. It doesn't happen very often and if you were out looking for a romantic interest, you'd likely think you'd just met your soul mate, but it does happen and you should be ready to take advantage of it when it does. A habit is a repeated behavior that is set off by routine cues in your environment. A behavior turns into a habit when it follows the same cue every time, especially a circadian one. It also needs to be immediately reinforcing, for example the behavior makes you feel good, gives you something you want, or removes something you don't want. Over time, the decision-making about the behavior--and the behavior itself--become automatic. The challenging part is establishing the habit, which is what this chapter will help you do. Because trying to establish new habits across multiple domains would feel overwhelming, I encourage you to pick just one. With your first habit area in motion--often referred to as a keystone habit3--other behaviors that are related tend to cascade into place. In other words, the first habit can have a domino effect.