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We're not in denial--we know there is something going on that needs to be solved. Maybe we even understand that the matter is serious. It's on our to-do list . it just never gets done. The reasons we procrastinate are many and can vary by person. It's possible that some people procrastinate due to poor time management, but that's unlikely. The truth is that we are very good at making time for things we consider important (or even just enjoyable--for example, how many hours have you spent on social media this week?). Procrastination is more often related to negative feelings (such as fear) or perceived needs (such as the need to be in control) that we have attached to the task at hand. Even shame can play a role in procrastination. This was the case for one of my clients, who put off seeing a doctor for acid reflux for years because she felt ashamed that her eating habits and excess weight were at the root of her condition. The need to act passive aggressively toward someone who is pestering you to get help can also trigger procrastination. The more someone nudges you, the more you resist. In addition to creating an environment in which small health problems can potentially bloom into bigger problems, studies show that procrastination itself is bad for you, increasing stress and anxiety and decreasing the quality of your sleep,[2] which impacts things like weight gain, the immune system, and more. Make Eye Contact and Gauge Interest - First of all, make sure someone looks interested in talking to you. Take a peek at them from across the room, look them in the eye, smile or wave. Basically, get a measure of their presence at the moment. If they look away, ignore you, or simply look uncomfortable, rethink your approach. Maybe in a little bit when they have loosened up some. Introduce Yourself - If you get the green light or simply feel like drawing someone into conversation, go for it. Head over, say hi, use an icebreaker or two and tell a joke.

Basically, whatever conversational style you feel most comfortable with is a good way to open. Make Small Talk and Develop Understanding of their Conversational Style - In the first five minutes or so, you should aim to understand as much as you can about their conversational style as possible. Are they visual, audible, or kinaesthetic? Are they storytellers or listeners? Do they want to talk about work, personal details, or something else entirely? Listen closely in those early moments whenever they talk and start mirroring their approach to the conversation. Build Rapport - Hopefully in those first few moments you'll have tapped into the natural rapport any two likeminded individuals share upon meeting. Now, it's time to build on that rapport by mirroring their conversational style, building on topics they clearly like and increasing how it all progresses. When can you devote time to prepping meals? I encourage you to set routine times in your week or day so that you are all set. Here are a variety of styles to choose from, so you can find times that work best for you. Whenever you choose, do it consistently, in ways that work with your level of energy at that time of day. Some people do a lot of cooking during the weekend, and then have their meals ready for the week. Weekdays can simply be too chaotic, so food prep becomes a relaxing routine for weekends. Other people cook dinner every evening as a form of relaxation, and then the next day they bring leftovers to work for lunch. Larks might enjoy waking up early to prep food in the morning. Alternatively, making food at night, including tomorrow's lunch, might help larks stay awake until their scheduled bedtime. For example, evening cues might be: put on pajamas, turn on soothing music, enter the kitchen, make tea, start prepping tomorrow's meals. Owls with energy at night might enjoy preparing tomorrow's lunch after dinner, so they can be in a better position to streamline their mornings (and maximize sleep time). Alternatively, making food in the morning may help owls transition into the day.

For example, morning cues might be: enter the kitchen, make coffee, start prepping for lunch as you slowly become more alert. In addition to sleeping, exercising, and eating, another crucial aspect of self-care is paying attention to what substances, in general, you put into your body. I have already discussed food choices, so in this section I'll focus on vitamins, medications, recreational drugs, cigarette smoking, and drinking. The path to optimize your daily functioning, so that you feel up to making the effort to engage in other rewarding activities, includes taking your vitamins and medications in a stable and regimented manner, and limiting drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol. Tell a Story or Generate Interest - Make sure to give away a few small details about yourself in the course of conversation. All the niceties in the world do you no good if you fail to draw them into your world a bit. They won't open up until they feel comfortable and that requires you to show at least some of your cards. Tell a personal story, mention your family in passing, describe your dog - get something out there that they couldn't learn just by observing you naturally. Gauge When to End the Conversation - Within 5-10 minutes, start gauging when it's best to end a conversation. Most arenas designed for meeting people practically demand that you keep any single conversation short as you move on to talk to other people. If you stay with someone too long, you risk appearing clingy or worse yet, overstaying your welcome and boring them. If they really enjoy your presence, they'll seek you out again later. Figuring out what is fueling your procrastination can be helpful, but it's not necessary. Procrastination can be solved--and solved quickly--by simply doing the thing you've been putting off. If you're a supervisor, give your staff the autonomy to choose their own tasks, or at least to schedule them at times of their choosing. State and county free clinics work alongside the pharmaceutical industry's patient assistance programs. Once you move through your initial screening, a case manager will help you obtain free medication. Remember, there is no shame in not having healthcare insurance. If you're struggling with depression and need psychological treatment or medication, utilize these resources. And if this undertaking is too much to bear, rally friend, family, or resource hotlines to help you.

At this point in your reading, you've become well-informed on diagnosing, treating, and dealing with the inside track of depression. But now we come to the most important chapter of all. The chapter about you and your depression. Depression is not experienced in a universal way. Though we may share symptoms and diagnostic markers, your depression has its own distinctive feel--as does my depression. The factors that make your depression unique--and my depression unique--include biology (genetics) and biography (life experience). I call this the "Two-B Factor." Your particular biology and biography create the singular experience that you've come to know as your life. The nature and nurture of my existence craft a life of my very own as well. And let's not forget to include the life stories and genetic predispositions that shape each and every other person in the world. I believe that the unexamined life is a perilous one. If you fail to understand the inner workings of who you are, what strengths you have, and what weaknesses you own, your life becomes a featureless existence. Not learning about your biology and biography holds you hostage and keeps you helpless because you don't know who you are and what you need. Awareness, on the other hand, empowers you with facts, details, and specifics. And these experiences not only bring substance and uniqueness to your life, they also become data to be used in the management of your depression. Historically, healthcare professionals assumed the role of "expert" when it came to knowing what was best for you. You see, they had the medical or the psychological training. However, this belief has been upended by the modern attitude that you are an expert as well, having firsthand knowledge of your own body and mind. Nowadays, healthcare can be a collaborative participation between you and your professional(s). I know a great deal about my biology and biography and call upon that knowledge when I work with any healthcare professional. Being an expert in who I am and where I came from makes me an important team member.

My feelings count. My sensibilities matter. While "get it in writing" is conventional wisdom in business, whether securing someone's services or buying a product, it turns out that it can actually hurt the level of trust between those involved. A pair of experiments found that binding contracts tended to inhibit levels of trust when they were in effect, since those involved tended to attribute the other person's cooperation not to their own decision, but to the "constraints imposed by the contract." By contrast, the researchers found that nonbinding contracts did less to impede the development of interpersonal trust than binding contracts--and didn't hurt trust as much when removed. The researchers concluded that contracts not only get in the way of developing a trusting relationship in the first place, but hurt the trust between people that has already been built. Unless you are striking a deal where big money is on the line, it's better for all involved to go with your gut rather than what a piece of paper requires. While taking long personal calls at work to speak with your spouse or cat psychic might not be a great way to win over your boss, bringing your personal life into your workspace has been found to have very positive results. A pair of psychologists from the University of Exeter in England found that workers were more productive when their desks were "decorated rather than lean"--that is, when their desks included additions such as plants or art. In two experiments conducted by the researchers, one at a university psychology department, the other at a commercial city office, the performance of subjects (attention to detail, management of information, processing of information, and so on) was measured in four different conditions: an undecorated or "lean" workspace; one that had been decorated with plants and art by the experimenter; self-decorated; and self-decorated, then redecorated by the experimenter. The results consistently showed that those with decorated spaces were more productive than those with lean ones. When participants had input into the decoration of their spaces, the researchers noted, it "increased participants' feelings of autonomy and decisional involvement and this led to increases in comfort, job satisfaction, and productivity." This feeling of empowerment led to an increase in productivity by as much as 32 percent. Add some artwork or plants to your desk, or make some other addition that enhances it in a way that's personal for you. Throw in a lava lamp and disco ball if you're into that sort of thing. In our modern era, new research is conducted on nearly all diseases and conditions each year. With a simple online search, you can stay up to date on the latest discoveries and treatment options. You can also join online groups or subscribe to e-newsletters related to your unique health issues. And if your doctor recommends periodic evaluations or check-ins, don't neglect appointments of this nature because you are currently feeling good or symptom free. The best way to stay that way is to maintain your care. I can't tell you how many people I see who follow the protocols I give them long enough to experience some improvement and then, because they are feeling better, stop the behaviors that are working for them. As a caregiver, it's frustrating to watch people who have experienced some measure of success sabotage their physical, mental, and emotional health because they are no longer struggling, only to reencounter problems because they abandoned the tools that led to their success.