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You're known as a leader. You push yourself to do well. You thrive on projects that need control, order, and predictability. Healthy intimate relationships generally require flexibility, openness, and spontaneity. True connection requires vulnerability. You need to control what others know about you--and that gets in the way of emotional intimacy. How many times have you heard yourself say, "I'm fine, thanks," when you knew that you weren't fine at all? I'd bet a lot. When I began writing about perfectly hidden depression, many people emailed me with their reactions to giving PHD a definition. Their responses reflected relief, gratitude, even shock. One expressed, "I can't believe how you're describing me. It's like you're in my head." I'm certainly not the first person to describe that depression doesn't always appear the same from person to person. Sydney Blatt, quoted above, was one of the first to gather research on perfectionism and its link with depression and suicide. He suggested that certain types of depression should be identified through someone's lived experience rather than whether their symptoms fit official criteria. The term "perfectly hidden depression" reflects this same thought: the official criteria for depression don't have to be exactly met for depression to exist. So it's time for you and your body to end the rivalry and join the same team, because you can't live a healthy, motivated life without feeling good about yourself and your body. Not to mention, if you don't learn to value yourself and your body, it becomes even easier to give in to the temptations to stop eating healthfully and exercising. The first step toward acceptance: letting go of negative versions of yourself and your body. Every time you catch yourself saying or thinking things like: I will never be fit, I will never be attractive, I will never be sexy again, I can never stop overeating, and so forth, replace them with body-positive mantras such as: I can be attractive; I can be fit; people do overcome overeating, and I am going to be one of them. If you've struggled with your body image since you were a child, it's time to acknowledge that you can't change what was said about or done to your body in the past.

However, you are in charge of how you treat, talk to, and relate to your body and how you allow others to do the same! And if your body image issues are more recent, you're going to figure out where they came from and learn how to turn things around. May you feel encouraged to live each day to the fullest, never letting the beauty of your life pass you by. May you choose to see the magic in life and, in doing so, let your life become infinitely more magical. May the divine inner sparkle within you feel uplifted, enchanted and inspired. The words spirit' andspiritual' can possess esoteric and, for some of us, religious connotations. They might even be words that make some of us feel uncomfortable. And yet, here we are, spirits having a human experience! Our spirits are self-sown seeds of a higher intelligence of which we are all a part, and in which we exist in accordance with a perfect, natural law. The miraculous nature of our consciousness, minds and bodies is so often taken for granted. In this luscious and creative third section, we redirect our attention back to our spirits. Back to nature and our earth, and back to the soothing, enriching and energising benefits that wonder, faith and gratitude bring. I see positive affirmations as powerful statements of truth to uplift, inspire and transform us. Our thoughts create our worlds. When we take care of our thoughts, we take care of our whole lives. May the affirmations within this book inspire you on your way as you embrace the magic of living. May they also encourage you to create your own affirmations - ones that you can write, draw, think, sing and dance about. Statements of truth that resonate with you and support you to experience greater bliss, freedom and wellbeing in your life. I love to cook with fresh, organic, local and seasonal ingredients. Eating like this is a wonderful way to celebrate real food, connect with the earth, and cultivate sparkling health.

Wherever possible, source your ingredients as thoughtfully as you can and eat with gratitude and pleasure. Billions of pounds/dollars are spent each year on self-help books and media. And yet, very few people change. Why? The key to the clue is the very first word - SELF! Taking responsibility for change. Wanting to change. Really wanting to change. So, unless you are prepared to take that to heart, save yourself some money and put this book back on the shelf. I did warn you I wasn't politically correct. I want you to get results, not become another book collector at best, and a whining intellectual that failed to act at worst. I tell my clients I will help them through the use of two words: permission and accountability. The permission in this case is the book; I know the techniques work. The accountability is down to you. Unlike when I'm with my clients, I am not there to check up on you, cajole you, or challenge you. Many educated people out there have bookshelves full of self-improvement books, know the techniques, have attended courses, and still have not moved forward. The process will work this way. I intend to demystify all this business about self-concept and how you think, feel, and believe about you. I intend to show you, in plain-talk terms, how that personal truth has and will determine the quality of virtually every aspect of your life, and how to change it by ridding it of distortion. This is a knowable process and one that we can break down into manageable steps.

Those steps will involve events that happened externally, as well as events that happen and already have happened internally. Not all of the emails or comments I've received have been supportive. In fact, some have been fairly critical: "Isn't it bad enough that people are having to deal with real depression? Now you're lowering the bar?" And: "I think you're trying to talk a lot of people into thinking there's something wrong with making the best out of life's suffering. I call that courage and strength--not a psychological condition." And then there's this: "It sounds like you're describing someone who's empathic as well as a good decision maker and leader--and you're saying that's not a healthy way of living life. I resent that." The last thing I want to do is discount the pain of depression, pathologize inner fortitude and strength, or find fault with being a caring, giving person. Yet my attention to perfectly hidden depression has been greatly spurred by the rise of suicides in the United States and internationally. Jean Twenge, a notable researcher and sociologist, has studied the behaviors of every generational group from the WWII generation to baby boomers to the iGens (her term). She notes that depression and suicide are dramatically rising in teens. "As teens have spent less time with one another in person, they have also become less likely to kill each other. In contrast, teen suicide rates began to tick up after 2008... 46% more teens killed themselves in 2015 than in 2007" Body image might not get a lot of attention until the teen years. You often hear about middle school and high school as a formative time for body image issues. Girls struggle with eating disorders and the pressure to be thin, and young boys also deal with the stress of trying to fit in. Yet, by then, your body image has been developing for many years. Your view of yourself originates with the positive or negative reactions--words, nonverbal cues, and touch--of your parents. As a child, you internalized the ways that you were touched, talked about, and accepted or rejected by others throughout your development. While we talk daily about self-care including the ways we move, eat, drink, think and sleep, we rarely speak directly to the wellness of our spirits. Understanding and caring for ourselves as spiritual beings radically shifts our sense of self, time and space, and inspires renewed gratitude and wonder for life. At spirit level we can truly assess our priorities and sense of purpose, moving in the direction of true peace and joy.

Disconnected from the calls of our spirits, we will always sense that something is missing in our lives. As if we lack something. This can cause us to look in all the wrong places for what we actually already have - a tremendous sparkle, just waiting within for us to love and enjoy. You know, smart people like you and me have heard this sort of saying. I spent 20 years in big corporations that used consultants and sometimes coaches. As a General Manager, I used them on a regular basis. A common complaint when people heard their conclusions for improvement to be made was: "They only told us what we already knew!" See, you are very often smart enough to know - but not to do! Really smart people know what to do. They employ someone to remind them what they should be doing. (These are not YES men. There you are, on that fence. If the fact I said YES men instead of people offended you, get over it. It is just a saying.) They employ someone to make sure they continue doing it. They continually strive to improve themselves (for instance, by not being easily offended). I am not going to stand behind you like a ready-to-explode boot camp instructor (as much as I love doing that), unless you decide to employ me as your coach. In that case, how can I aid you in motivating yourself to carry out the exercises in this book? We don't have to dissect every event in your entire life. To do so would be to just get bogged down in a bunch of details and minutiae that don't matter. Instead, we are going to deal with an amazingly few external and internal events that have determined the outcome of your entire existence. When you see how few events have so powerfully dictated who and what you have become, you are going to be absolutely shocked!