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Because so many drugs can contribute to depression, if you are experiencing symptoms of depression, have a health care professional assess the medications you are taking to see if any might be adding to your struggle. Ask if dosages of suspect drugs can be adjusted, eliminated, or replaced with a different drug or treatment. In the current health care environment, you can't count on anyone but yourself to safeguard your health. Even if you are fortunate enough to have history with a physician who has tracked and treated your health concerns, it is still up to you to take care of yourself. With a smoother, more confident approach to how you interact with the men and women you meet, now is the time to take it up a notch and actually go out and meet them. But, where and how do you do this? That will depend partly on the type of people you want to meet, what your interests are and what you hope to get out of any new relationships you create. For instance, if you want to meet a man or woman for romantic tryst, you'll want to go where the men or women you're aiming to meet are located. If you want to meet academic friends, a book club or community college course would be a good way to meet those types of people. It's all in what you hope to get out of your interactions. Push the Conversation to the Next Level - If you and your new acquaintance really hit it off, don't cut it too short. Push the conversation to the next level by separating from the pack, discussing something more in depth or developing further rapport. If you're in a dating environment, separate from the crowd to get some privacy. Get Contact Information - Ultimately, if you meet someone you like, get their contact information. It's not weird to ask someone for their business card or email address, especially if you hit it off. If it's someone of the opposite gender, play your cards a little more carefully. Keep it casual and make it an afterthought to ask for their contact information. A good trick is to have them enter their email or phone number into your phone directly. They can then touch something of yours, and will be far more likely to provide a real detail. I encourage you to measure your experiences.

Find words to describe them. Keep track of the subtlest of sensations as well as the pronounced ones. Learn about your family history and dwell in your own life narrative. Don't hesitate to report or share issues with your healthcare professional, because your observations and participation are crucial in shaping your well-being. Without them, the treatment and management of your depression becomes a boilerplate arrange-ment. And you know by now that "one size fits all" is not how depression operates. Making use of the Two-B Factor will aid significantly in the treatment of your depression. The more you know, the better things go. Depression is an illness that requires a good deal of self-care. Rates for relapse fall between 60 and 80 percent for children and adults with depression.2 You and your mental-health specialist will work toward reducing depressive symptoms, achieving remission, and managing risks to prevent relapse--but ultimately, it is up to you to stick with your treatment plan. Gaps in maintaining effective treatment are a major healthcare issue, with relapse causing personal, social, and economic strains in industrialized countries.3 Most individuals who experience a mild depression and reach remission return to their routines and responsibilities with ease. However, children and adults whose depressions are more intensive and serious require greater care. When you're in the quiet agony of depression or suffering with painful feelings, it's easy to follow your treatment plan. When you yearn to feel better, you attend every therapy session and take your medications regularly. There's a rhythm and tempo to your healing that is consistent. As things improve, many individuals remain resolute in their treatment plan. Others, though, become casual as they start feeling better. Their commitment to treatment becomes more laid-back. They begin skipping sessions or call to cancel at the last minute. They run out of medication or don't renew the prescription.

Slowly, there is less formality in dealing with their depression. The new behaviors they've adapted into their repertoire relax, and old habits return and negative thinking patterns resume. Soon the ability to monitor warning signs for depression gets blurred. Then, before they realize it, they've relapsed. Wrap Up - Finally, when the conversation is winding down, make additional pleasantries and wind it down. Do this by summing up the conversation, giving a nice compliment as to the conversational quality and telling them you'll talk soon. Never say goodbye in a final tone. Instead say something like "see you soon" or "talk to you soon" or "we'll probably bump into each other again soon". These create an open- ended nature to your relationship and make it easy to pick up where you left off when you meet again. It's important to take vitamins and medications as recommended, at routine times of day. Inconsistently taking vitamins and medicine, which I'll refer to with the catch-all term "medication," can have physical, cognitive, and emotional side effects--and may even be dangerous. Most medication is meant to be taken at the same time each day, at routine intervals such as every 12 hours. Timing may also be based on when you eat, as the medication might work best with or without an empty stomach and some may cause you to feel ill otherwise. Some people are reluctant or ambivalent about their medication because they don't want to have to be on it for the rest of their lives or they don't fully agree with the doctor's recommendation. It is good to be a critical thinker, and it is good to advocate for yourself. But taking medication inconsistently is likely not helping you. If you want to evaluate the consequences of taking it to see if you want to continue with the medication, then you need to collect data to share with your doctor. I encourage you to take it consistently, write down notes on what happens when you do, and then use that information to collaborate and problem-solve with your health-care provider to refine your medication strategy. You can use the monitoring form I provide at the end of this chapter, which offers space to note the consequences of each habit area. Then share it with your provider.

No matter the frequency, whether you take it once or twice a day, most people take medication in the morning. This can be challenging when mornings are usually harried as you get yourself, your partner or spouse, and perhaps children out the door. Time is not a luxury you have. So if you don't have a cue in place to trigger this healthy habit, it can be very hard to both remember to take it and remember that you took it. Of course, neither skipping nor double dosing are good things to do. Keep the Container Visible: Have the cue be seeing the pill bottle itself. Make it visible. I finally got my husband in the habit of taking his morning antacid by leaving the bottle out on the kitchen counter. He sees it and takes it before he walks out the door for work. When we're on vacation, the physical setup is different so there's no visual cue. This is when we use another strategy, which I'll cover below. Walk Away - As hard as it may be, eventually you must walk away from the conversation. Don't feel bad or apologize, just let them know you'd like to talk to other people or that you need to check on your friends. If you do it casually, no one will take it the wrong way. Just make sure you've wrapped up whatever conversational strain you're on and never cut them off. It's rude and won't make for an easy pick up point when you run back into each other. If you do it right, your conversation will grow and run its course as naturally as any other interaction. You don't need to force anything, and should avoid anything that makes either of you feel awkward. Do all that and you'll be set going forward. One of the ways you can do this is by being prepared when you go to your appointments.

Write down any issues you want to discuss with your caregiver ahead of time. It's extremely frustrating to wait weeks for an appointment, then realize when you get home that you forgot to bring up something important. Another way to take care of yourself is to be willing to explore new treatment options, schedule appointments with specialists, and pursue nontraditional healing pathways. Casting your net wide to compile a team of skilled professionals who care about your health takes time and effort, but you will reap the rewards in a longer and healthier life. Finally, understanding your insurance and health care options goes a long way. Choosing the right doctors and the right treatments is easier when you understand what is available to you. Your medical history is important and may inform future treatments and techniques to bring healing. It can shed light on current struggles and provide invaluable information to current health care professionals. Keep good records of past ailments, who has treated you, and any medications you have taken. In a separate study by the same lead researchers, they compared lean to "green" workspaces. In a trio of experiments, workers in places where plants had been added reported higher levels of job satisfaction, concentration, and perceived air quality. The researchers concluded that workers who put household plants on their desks were 15 percent more productive than those who did not. An eighteen-month study on this phenomenon published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied found that call center workers who had plants on their desks had better memory retention and performed better at their tasks. When it comes to commutes, it may not be the length that matters. While some research has found that longer commutes tend to correlate with lower job satisfaction, a study of 3,400 people by scientists at McGill University in Montreal examined six different modes of transportation for getting to work and respondents' relative satisfaction. Subjects were interviewed in both the summer and winter to get an average satisfaction score that accounted for changing weather conditions (biking in a blizzard isn't satisfactory, you'd assume). They found that while the commute length did not correlate with satisfaction, the mode of transportation did. Researcher and happiness expert Shawn Achor found that when workers spent two minutes to take four quick actions, it improved their happiness over the long term. Some people are detail oriented; others are much better at the big picture. Some are great collaborating with groups; others thrive in isolation.