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If you missed my interview with Robert Shryoc, Founder and CEO of Stonegate Center, a recovery community for men struggling with addictions, you really should take time to check it out. On the program, we talked about some of the lies we tend to tell ourselves when we are stuck in a negative cycle, habit, or addiction. You do not want to miss it! You can tune in to the program by clicking here.

Tonight on the program, I am revisiting a topic that I posted several weeks ago: the three people that you need in your life to succeed. I got such a good response from people about how helpful they found it that I decided to do a radio show about it. If you happened to miss the post, you can read the original below or tune into the program tonight on KCBI 90.9 at 6:30pm or 10:30pm CDT, or click on the link here after 7 pm to hear it in it’s entirety. Also, be sure to tune in next week as well. I will be talking with Stephanie Coker, a licensed social worker who has both personal and clinical experience working with those who are emotionally fragile. Stay tuned for more great guests and topics in the months ahead!! :

So, there you are…reeling at the news, a look of utter shock undeniably written all over your face. That exciting opportunity for which you had trouble falling asleep the night before is now the shattered hope that will keep you up tonight!

The work you put into the dream – the planning, the time, the networking, the energy – all seems now like a complete waste of time. And what hurts the most? The whole thing would have worked out if not for the interference of other people! Why couldn’t they catch the dream? Why couldn’t they get the vision? Why couldn’t they see in me what I know I have to give?

People will tell you, “Well, it just wasn’t meant to be?” Is that supposed to be comforting? I mean really…if it wasn’t meant to be, then why did I kill myself thinking it was? Why couldn’t somebody have seen that earlier, told me, and saved me a whole lot of trouble? If it wasn’t meant to be, then what is meant to be? Is there any point, any good that I can take away from this defeat?

My response? No doubt…there is!

Now, I’m not going to go into a bunch of platitudes about “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” or “this will build character in your life.” I know these are true, but they usually don’t help much in the face of such a tremendous disappointment. Instead, I want you to focus on the original passion that led you into this seemingly lost endeavor in the first place. I can almost guarantee you that it wasn’t about money, power for power’s sake, popularity, or pure pleasure. It was always about people. You had something that you wanted to give, something to contribute, a need to know and be known, a need to accept and be accepted, a hope to empower and be empowered. You haven’t lost faith in the dream…you’ve lost faith in people!!

So what do you do? How do you keep this disappointment from completely tainting your love, faith, and hope in others and making you a bitter, cynical person?

Let me suggest that you start by envisioning three people in your mind. Keep these people with you through the trial. Give them a face, a name, a legacy, and a future with you. They are as follows:

  1. The person you are striving for: This is the person that more than likely you started your mission to reach. I asked a factory worker installing seatbelts in automobiles who he was striving for. He said, “That little girl, just like my daughter, whose life will be saved because of me.” A teacher recently told me it was “that kid who really can succeed but everyone else in his life keeps telling him that he cannot!” Who are you striving for? He or she will be the one who gets you back up on your feet when you face a roadblock on the way to your dream. If you do not have someone like this in mind, create them. Be as detailed as possible. Give them a name. Envision their face before you when you are feeling discouraged. No venture in life will succeed if you are pursuing it for purely selfish gain. Your work will be so much more satisfying, even in times of failure, if you are striving for another.
  2. The person you are striving with: Somewhere in this world, there is someone who has gone through or is going through exactly what you are. They need you! They need your story! If you hole-up in isolation and coddle your hurt, keep it to yourself and refuse to share it, you will miss out on the connections you could have made with people who want to give and receive strength for the journey. Your heart will overflow when you meet them: a kindred spirit you might never have known otherwise. I interviewed a woman who said, “I thought I was all alone, but a whole world opened up to me when I opened up to it. It was like walking through a fog of loneliness for so long and then suddenly stumbling upon a campfire, burning bright and hot, surrounded by people celebrating a journey not yet finished but sure to end well. They were ready to walk along with me. My heart glowed for the first time!”
  3. The person you are striving toward:This isn’t as simple as a WWJD bracelet with which you snap your wrist each time a problem arises. It is, however, visualizing that one individual that you want to be and asking yourself how your pain can make you more like him or her. I’ve been reading a kids version of Pilgrim’s Progress to my children at night before bed, and so for me right now, I’ve been visualizing the character, Faithful. He’s the one who entered the town of Vanity Fair and was dragged into the courts by the town’s people. Despite all the tempting and laughing and brutality he experienced for being different, he stood strong in his mission, even to death. That’s who I want to be. I know I’m not perfect in that regard. I know I have a long way to go with lots of setbacks, but I keep that story in my mind and it helps. What about you? Who do you want to become? Perhaps he or she is a real person or a fictional character that embodies all the qualities you long for. Tell yourself that this setback is an opportunity to become more like them and determine to be that same person others aspire to be. It will make all the difference.

Questions: How do you keep from getting cynical about life and love when you’ve faced a hurt or setback? Are their ways that you have found helpful to keep you motivated? If you had someone in mind to strive for, with, and toward, who would they be?

 

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If I Only Had….

This past week, I interviewed Lisa Burkhardt Worley about her take on the secret longings that many women harbor.  You can click on the link above to listen to the full program. I really encourage you to do so. In this interview, we focus on Lisa’s personal testimony of struggling with a mother who suffered from mental illness. We do not often hear these stories from the perspective of the child involved and I think you will find it very encouraging and uplifting…a true story of redemption. For more information about Lisa, keep reading:

Lisa Burkhadt Worley is a former national television sportscaster, Christian non-fiction writer, speaker, retreat leader and Christ follower whose passion is ministering to women. Lisa has worn numerous hats throughout her life. She was both a national and local television sportscaster for nineteen years with HBO Sports, the Madison Square Garden Network, ESPN and the local CBS affiliate in San Antonio. She was also the spokesperson for San Antonio International Airport for five years, part of which was during the events of 9-11.

After she rededicated her life to Christ in 1993, God led Lisa on a path that has included numerous ministry leadership positions. She is currently the lay leader over Women’s Ministry at Trietsch Memorial United Methodist Church in Flower Mound where she speaks regularly at a monthly women’s luncheon at Trietsch called First Friday Feast. Lisa also speaks to other church gatherings, retreats and secular groups, both in the Texas area and occasionally in other parts of the country.

She recently completed her first book with co-author Catherine Weiskopf called, If I Only Had…Following God’s Path to Your Security. The book won “Best Non-Fiction Book” at the 2012 North Texas Christian Writer’s Conference and is currently being edited by Catherine and Lisa’s Literary Agent. Catherine, Lisa and former Dallas media personality, Rebecca Carrell, are currently writing a new Bible study, The Un-Crowd: How God Takes us Out of the World to Do the Unpopular. It will be taught in March, 2013 at Trietsch Memorial United Methodist Church. Lisa is also publishing a devotional, The Pearls of Promise Devotional, in 2013.Lisa is a strong proponent of small group ministry, having led small groups in both San Antonio and Flower Mound for over fifteen years.

Lisa completed her Masters of Theological Studies Degree at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2008. At Perkins, she was recognized as one of the top students in Division 1 Studies (Biblical Witness.) Lisa is a San Antonio, Texas native but moved to Flower Mound in 2005. She has been married to Jeff Worley for 26 years and has two children, Kyle, 23, and Bret, 16.

Visit Lisa at …

www.pearlsofpromiseministries.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/pearlsofpromise
Facebook: http://facebook.com/pearlsofpromiseministries.com
Books: Pearls of Promise Devotional
Linked in: Lisa Burkhardt Worley

Relationships in the Workplace.

I had a great time interviewing Robert E. Hall, a noted author, consultant, and speaker on relationships. His latest book, This Land of Strangers: The Relationship Crisis That Imperils Home, Work, Politics, and Faith, gives a clear explanation as to why fostering healthy working relationships should be on our short list of daily activities.

As cofounder and CEO of a two-hundred person relationship management firm with offices in the United States, Canada, Latin America, United Kingdom, South Africa, and Australia, he consulted for twenty-plus years with major corporations on customer and employee relationships. Ernst & Young named him a finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year in the Southwest. His first book, The Streetcorner Strategy for Winning Local Markets, is a business bestseller that helped inspire the customer relationship managment movement. For the past decade, Hall has mentored inner-city homeless families and helped pioneer a relationship-centric model for addressing homelessness. He has authored more than one hundred published columns, articles, and research papers on the topic of relationships.

I asked him to stop by the studio to give us some insights into how relationships can make or break a business. Click on the link above to listen to the whole program. Listed below are four actions you can take to strengthen your relationships in the workplace:

1. Understand Unintended Consequences:  We are always trying to streamline our lives. The faster or easier we can accomplish a task, the better. Unfortunately, there are unintended consequences to increased material productivity, usually in the form of declining relationships. Why communicate face-to-face when you can send a text? Why strike up a conversation with someone in an elevator when you can be listening to your favorite podcast on your i-phone? Robert does not advocate for going back to the stone ages. He does, however, believe that if we are aware of this unintended distancing brought on by advance in technology, we can be more intential about fighting against it, maintaining connection and unity with people in the workplace and potentially save a suffering relationship.

 2. Make relationships a strategic priority: Robert notes that relationships have as much value (if not more value) than capital.  Our intentional investment in people can be worth more than a million dollar grant if we can understand the long term ramifications of a healthy working environment. As a consultant, Robert notes that he has seen large companies go under, not for lack of material resources but because of failed communication, bitterness, disloyalty, and hurt feelings. We need to remember that relationships are not just a means to an end, but an end in and of themselves. They are what give our work meaning and purpose. We feel fulfilled in what we do for the very fact that we are investing in people, whether directly or indirectly.

3. Deinstitutionalize our Organizations: Robert recommends breaking organizations down to the small and local. Many churches are adopting the small group model of connecting people with people. As one school principal told him, “We have been in rows and we need to move into circles.” Sometimes we hate business meetings. I know every one of us has thought at some point, “This meeting could have been over 15 minutes ago if someone would just get to the point.” But meetings are not even as much about producing something material as they are about giving people a voice to be heard and a way to connect with one another.  For a great book on this subject, check out Crucial Conversations by Patterson, Grenny, McMillian, and Switzler.

4. Relational Leadership: We will not change this problem from the top down through programs or forced interactions. We can only create an environment that fosters these interactions. To do this, leaders must demonstrate the importance of individuals by being individually oriented themselves. You may be the lowest man on your company’s totem pole but you can be a leader in this way by making meaningful connections with people each and everyday.

Question: How do you feel in your place of employment? What are the relational aspects that make or break your work experience? What are the solutions you have found helpful? 

Be sure to sign up for my blog by clicking the link to the left or follow me on facebook or twitter at David Livingstone Henderson, MD or @DaveHendersonMD.

 

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Tonight, on For Christ and Culture, I interview Kevin Gilliland of Innovation 360, a treatment program designed to help individuals struggling with overcoming addictions and mental illnesses. I encourage you to tune into the program, which aires on 90.9 KCBI, at 6:30pm and 10:30pm CST. You can also listen on your own time any time after 7:30pm CST by clicking here.

On the program, we discuss the struggles that many parents have in successfully launching their teenagers and emerging adults from the home. How do we motivate our kids toward a healthy change of mind and equip them to struggle well?

Based on our discussion during the program, here are my top 3 answers:

1. Find out what currently motivates them.  What are your teenager’s interests, passions, or desires. Open up the conversation with them and work to figure out what makes them tick. You may be thinking, “Well, nothing seems to motivate my kids. All they want to do is sit around and play video games.” This does not mean they are not motivated. It means that their is something about sitting around playing video games that is motivating to them. Find out what that is and you are well on your way to helping them succeed in other areas.

2. Begin to let them struggle. Part of the reason why a teenager sits around playing video games all day is because there is nothing or no one challenging them to do anything else. As parents, because we love our children, we fear the possibility of them facing pain. What can happen is without knowing it, we begin to pick up the slack for their decisions and so they do not have to face the inherent struggles of life. This fosters their complacency and makes them more sensitive to minor challenges. Think about it. If you lie on the couch all day for days on end, your muscles atrophy and lose their functioning. If this behavior (or lack thereof) goes on long enough, you may find yourself lying on the couch not because you want to but because you can do nothing else. If we do not let our kids struggle, they will not have the strength to face greater and greater challenges as time passes.

3. Check your own motivations. If you are unable to step back and let your son or daughter experience the challenges inherent to a life well-lived, you have to confront the reasons why. What struggles would you have to experience in order to launch your son or daughter? Perhaps it is loneliness, fear of failure as a parent, embarrassment, the fear of more work in the future if they come back battered and bruised. Whatever the struggle, you must acknowledge how your fear of facing it may be influencing the decisions you are making with your kids.

Ultimately, we all desire hope. Hope that we will succeed in the struggle. Hope that the pain will be worth the reward. To struggle well, you must have hope that the challenges are worth the risk. Remember, God does not cause pain without allowing something new to be born. Remember this the next time you step back and allow your son or daughter to experience some pain in their lives. Do not feel guilty. Check your motivations and recognize that ultimately, you want what is best for them. If you want them to grow, you’ve got to let them struggle. Struggle well!!

Question: What are the challenges that you have had to overcome and what tips can you give someone who is seeking to struggle well through life?

Please sign up for the blog by clicking the link on the left hand column that says subscribe, follow me on facebook at David Livingstone Henderson, MD or twitter @DaveHendersonMD. Also, if you are interested in more information about Innovation 360, you can check out their website, www.i360life.com.  

Tonight on For Christ and Culture, I interview Dr. Matthew Stanford, neuropsychologist, author and co-founder of the Mental Health Grace Alliance, an organization dedicated to helping those who feel stuck in the “treatment box” discover the true process of recovery. They provide personal assistance to navigate professional care and improve personal life management (mental health recovery). Their Mental Illness Recovery Program (THRIVE) and support groups reinforce professional care, reducing symptoms, building recovery and improving personal faith.

Dr. Stanford was one of the plenary speakers at Rick Warren’s Mental Health and the Church Conference at Saddleback Church in California. On today’s program we discuss some key factors necessary to help people understand the nature of mental illness and how best to approach treatment. Here are a few key points to remember:

  1. Recovery vs. Cure: Many people diagnosed with mental illness ask, “Can I be cured?” Unfortunately, this is a very black and white way of viewing mental illness that sets people up for certain discouragement and failure. If the cause of mental illness was as simple as identifying a bacteria that could be eradicated with an antibiotic, we might used the word cure. However, mental illness usually falls within the spectrum of disorders that require ongoing management of symptoms and signs. Similar disorders would include Diabetes, Parkinson’s syndrome, Heart Disease, and Lupus. When you consider the nature of mental illness, we use the diathesis/stress model. A diathesis is a predisposing factor that makes the acquiring of a disorder more likely. When we use this term, we are usually referring to a person’s genetics or heritability. The stress or stresses are the environmental factors that precipitate and perpetuate a bout of the disorder. These environmental factors include diet, exercise, traumatic life events, upbringing, belief systems, and relationships that generate the “perfect storm” so to speak. It is important to remember that these factors are always in flux and can either exacerbate or improve symptoms depending on the individual’s handling of them. Recovery comes when a person’s symptoms abate and/or the stressors are diminished.
  2. Resiliency vs. Avoidance: No one can completely escape the pain of life. That is why the second goal of treatment is called resiliency. Our goal is to help clients develop strength to overcome day to day challenges that before might have precipitated or exacerbated the symptoms of their mental illness. Just as diet and exercise enable an individual to overcome obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other such disorders, treatments for mental illness can do the same. Medications are one tool out of a host of options that provide this strengthening. They are not cures and they do have side effects. That is why a holistic approach to treatment that includes talk-therapy, group accountability and social support, diet, exercise, spiritual practices, and educational advancement is vital.
  3. Reminders vs. Results: Sometimes clients get focused on results and need reminders of how far they have come in treatment. “I feel worse today” is a common statement I hear. It is natural to have ebbs and flows of emotion. At any given moment, we might feel worse and it seems like we are taking steps backward. The encouraging part of what I do is to point out those subtle changes that I’ve noticed occurring in peoples’ relationships and daily life tasks, being a witness to the strength that clients demonstrate during very challenging times. We all need to be reminded that life is hard and full of surprises, but as our endurance builds, we rise to meet those challenges. We can have confidence in ourselves, looking back at some of the hurtles we’ve already jumped, knowing that the ones to come can be taken in stride using the tools we are continually acquiring.

Question: What has given you endurance to keep pushing forward, even when life gets tough?

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Tonight on For Christ and Culture, Barry Creamer hosts the show as I call in from Chicago, The Windy City, where I attended the American Academy of Clinical Psychiatrists’ annual meeting.* Be sure to tune in on KCBI 90.9 at 6:30pm or 10:30pm or by listening online any time after 7:30pm as we discuss the role of medication in treating psychiatric illnesses, when to prescribe and when not to, and how doctor’s determine when and how to use medications. We also dispel some myths about overprescribing in our culture and give some recommendations for clients seeking treatment. Seeing a mental health professional can be a scary thing to do, but with some preparation ahead of time, you can be confident that you are taking the right steps toward securing your own or a family member’s mental health. Here are just a few recommendations:

  1. Do your research ahead of time. Reading online reviews of a doctor can be helpful, but more often than not, getting a recommendation from a friend, a primary care physician, or another therapist who has had a positive experience with the doctor is the best way to feel comfortable that you have made a good choice.
  2. Consider the style of the professional. Is the doctor’s method of evaluation conducive to your needs? Ask questions of the staff before making an appointment: How long is the initial evaluation? Do I see the doctor the whole time or are their other individuals, assessments, and time commitments involved? It would even be appropriate to ask about the personality style of the doctor. Many people want to know if a doctor is sensitive to their spiritual and religious beliefs. These are all valid inquiries to help you make an informed decision. If staff seem inpatient and unwilling to respond, you might take that as a warning sign for future experiences. (Realize, however, that most doctors’ offices are extremely busy, so it would be helpful to think out your questions ahead of time, write them down, and take notes while you talk in order to get as much information in as short amount of time as possible.)
  3. Don’t hesitate to get a second opinion. No physician should get upset by a client’s decision to obtain a second opinion. It is always helpful to have another set of eyes on the situation to help determine the appropriateness of the diagnosis and the effectiveness of the treatment. If opinions differ, however, it will ultimately be your choice to decide on whose advice you act. Just realize that most doctors will require that you make a decision and see one or the other professional. Doctors do get concerned when a client shifts from doctor to doctor because it interrupts what we call “continuity of care.” Continuity of care allows us to follow an individual over time, make sure that treatments are effective and safe, and intervene quickly if a problem arises.
  4. If you’re hesitant to start medication, consider seeing a psychologist first. Most psychologists are trained in assessing personality styles and symptoms related to mental illness. If you are really wanting to keep medication as a last resort and fearful that a psychiatrist will automatically prescribe (It happens sometimes!), you might start here and allow the psychologist to recommend psychiatric treatment if they are concerned. Just realize that this adds an addition step onto the process and may lengthen the time it takes to find relief from your symptoms.
  5. Trust your instincts. After you’ve done your research, talked to friends and family, and prayed about the decision, move forward with the treatment recommendations that have been agreed upon. Most doctors today are collaborative in their approach. They don’t “force” you to do things unless they have an immediate concern for your safety or the safety of others. In these instances, they will likely involve friends and family who love and understand you. Each step of the way, ask questions. Talk openly about your concerns. That’s why the doctor is there. Perhaps you are unsure of your decision-making abilities. You have a right to an advocate who could join you, at least for the initial evaluation. And remember, if it doesn’t work out between you and the doctor for some reason, it doesn’t mean that you or the doctor has failed. It may simply mean that there is a better person suited to care for your needs.

Questions: Why do you think it is so scary to see a psychiatrist or other mental health professional? Is it possible that some of your fears can be assuaged by following the steps above? What other helpful tools have you developed to find the right professional for yourself, your family, or your friends?

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Tonight on For Christ and Culture, I discuss a recent article in the Huffington Post. (Cue not so subtle guffawing from Dr. Creamer, who clearly has a great deal of regard for their political leanings!). The title is quite a mouthful: 10 Surprising Things That Benefit Our Brains That You Can Do Every Day. I’d like to address just five of them. If you’re interested in reading the entire article, you can click the link above. And be sure to tune into the show tonight at 6:30pm or 10:30pm to hear the entire discussion.

1. A tired brain is a creative brain. When we get tired, most of us want to veg out on the couch, watch our favorite DVR’d television show, play video games, or surf the internet. If you do, you may be missing out on the creative processing your brain is capable of. Why? Because when your brain is tired, it is more prone to distractions. The decrease in focus allows for the connecting of more random pieces of information, making it more likely to generate new ideas and associations. Here’s what Scientific American had to say about it: “Insight problems involve thinking outside the box. This is where susceptibility to “distraction” can be of benefit. At off-peak times we are less focused, and may consider a broader range of information. This wider scope gives us access to more alternatives and diverse interpretations, thus fostering innovation and insight.” So the next time you feel tired, don’t immediately veg out. Instead, let your mind wander and see where it goes. You might be surprised at the new and exciting ideas that arise. I also think times like this are important for our spiritual life as well. Yes, we need to be disciplined in spiritual practices like studying, prayer, meditation, and worship. But God also encourages us to “be still” and “know” Him. What new insights about His nature might He reveal to you in those quiet moments? You’ll never know unless you try.

2. A stressed brain is a weaker brain. More and more studies are demonstrating that stress has a powerful impact on the body. Remember David’s words in Psalm 32? The Brain is no exception. In fact, it’s the primary organ where these changes take place. There is a correlation between anxiety and the size of the amygdala, the emotional hub of the brain. People with high stress levels tend to have larger amygdalas. We also see an inverse correlation between the amount of chronic stress and anxiety in a person’s life and the size of their hippocampus, the memory processing part of the brain. This makes sense when you consider someone with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and the difficulty they have with memory and concentration. (For more information about stress and the body, click here.) The take home point is this: If you want a strong mind, you have to give it time to rest. Take a vacation, slow down and enjoy your favorite meal, do something fun with a friend, read a relaxing book, write out all the things in your life you are thankful for. If you’ve experienced significant trauma in your life, consider meeting with a therapist to process those life events in a healthy way. Taking care of your emotions is taking care your brain.

3. A multitasking brain is an inefficient brain. I did a radio interview on this very topic a while back. If you’d like to listen to it, you can click here. The book Brain Rules explains how multitasking is a myth: “Research shows your error rate goes up 50 percent and it takes you twice as long to do things.” I recently had a client tell me that he had trouble reading. “I get so distracted by my own thoughts. I think of things I need to buy at the store, a friend who asked me to do something for him, a work project that I’ve been neglecting, a fear that I have about the upcoming work week. After an hour, I find that I haven’t even made it through a single page.” Does this sound like you? It is pretty easy to eliminate external distractions. (Turn off the T.V., close out your facebook account, turn on some quiet music, find a conducive environment.) Eliminating the internal distractions of our minds takes more work, but it is possible to do. Here are just a couple of suggestions. First, remember your priorities for the moment. If you really want to read, then the other activities on your mind need to take a backseat. If this not possible, then maybe reading should be done after you get some of the other projects taken care of. If reading is your priority for the moment, set a time limit and take a break. While reading, keep a notebook by your side and anytime a distraction pops up, remove it by writing it down on the notepad. Tell yourself you will come back to it when you are finished reading and then return to the task at hand. The more you do this, the easier it will be to stay with one task for a longer period of time. You will notice your efficiency begin to improve with time and practice. Don’t give up!

4. A napping brain is a stronger brain. I’m not talking about the 2-3 hour naps we take after a huge Thanksgiving or Sunday dinner. Power naps, as they have been appropriately termed, are no longer than 20-30 minutes and they are like a quick reboot for the brain. When dealing with computer problems at the office, our IT guy has a saying, “If you haven’t first tried turning it off and back on again, don’t ask me for help.” The same is true for the brain. If you are feeling tired or inefficient, if your brain seems to be working slowly, try powering down for a few minutes and then restarting. Studies have shown that your memory, concentration, and efficiency will be drastically improved.

5. A seeing brain is a believing brain. Your vision is the most powerful sense that you have. It trumps all other senses. For example, professed wine connoisseurs have been known to mistake a dyed white wine for a red wine. A picture really is worth a 1,000 words. So the next time you turn on your computer, get ready to watch a movie, or read that book, remember this: ‘whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—[picture] such things.” Fill your mind with beautiful and healthy things and the possibilities for a beautiful, healthy life will be endless!

Question: What changes do you need to make in your life for a healthier brain?

BTW, be sure to follow me on Facebook at David Livingstone Henderson, MD or Twitter @DaveHendersonMD or through LinkedIn. Stay in touch!!

Recently, I did a post on the seven people waiting when you fall (The Vulture, Vampire, Voyeur, Freak, Fixer, Father, and Friend). If you missed it, you can check it out by clicking here or you can tune in tonight at 6:30pm or 10:30pm to 90.9 KCBI and hear some of my thoughts on the subject. Once the show has aired, you can also listen to it online by clicking here. Be sure to check out some of the other radio shows I’ve done while you are there.

One of the seven individuals I discussed was the friend. This is the person who is loyal and genuinely wants you to succeed in life. You know them by how willing they are to celebrate with you when you’re succeeding, not just by how they help you up when you’ve fallen.

This got me thinking. Are there benefits to being a friend like this to others? Absolutely. Here are just a few I came up with:

  1. The credibility you gain: If you want people to trust you, you have to demonstrate your friendship by helping them succeed when there is nothing immediately in it for you. Notice I used the word “immediately.” I do not think there is anything wrong with acknowledging that we do and should get something from our friendships. In fact, we get lots of things: companionship, mentoring, sharing, emotional support, and a list of other benefits. We need friendships as much as we need life itself. In that sense, no action taken on behalf of a friend is totally selfless. If you are in a relationship that is one-sided (all take and no give) I would not call that a friendship. I might call it slavery, but not friendship. The true friend is not someone who gives and gives and gives and never gets anything in return. Rather, a true friend is one who is willing to set aside his or her needs for a time in order to help you acquire your needs for a time. When you help someone in this way, you gain credibility as a true friend and strengthen a bond that can last a lifetime.
  2. The future ally you secure: When people know that you genuinely care about their success, their loyalty to you grows. This is important to recognize, because there will come a time when you need their support in order to succeed yourself. If you have been a true friend, you will not have to feel guilty or anxious about asking them to respond in kind. Example: How likely are you to donate money to a person’s cause when they don’t even say hi to you at the office? Not likely, right? But think about that individual who always asks you about your kids, prayed for you when you had surgery, and wrote you a congratulations card when you got a promotion. I bet you’d be more likely to put up five bucks for their charity run. We have to stop being so self-focused, understanding that serving others leads to long term allies. One caution: when you call on an ally to help, the decision is still theirs to make. They might say no and that is okay. If we are simply keeping checks and balances on our investments into people, we will become very bitter. But if we freely “cast our bread upon the water” (as the saying goes), it will return to us in the end.
  3. The wisdom you acquire: The saying is, “Learn from other people’s mistakes.” I say, “Learn from other people’s successes.” When you participate in the process of another person’s success, you learn a lot vicariously through them. For example, Michael Hyatt, former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing Company, completed a book several years ago called Platform. It ended up on the New York Times Bestseller list. Prior to publishing the book, he had posted updates on how the book was coming along, asking for feedback, and sharing tidbits of his wisdom. I must admit, as an author, I was just a little bit jealous. “I wish I could ask advice from a network of 100,000+ followers anytime I wanted.” But instead of being bitter, I took the time to follow his progress and learn from him. After all, if he had aquired so many followers, he had to be doing something right. His success, in a small way, has become my success because of the knowledge I gained through his openness about the process. (And, yes, I did buy his book!)
  4. The new relationships you develop: When people see that you are a trustworthy friend, they will want to be your friend as well. Over time, you will find that you have created a network of friendships that will become a source of joy, encouragement, and help, both in times of trouble and great success.
  5. The sense of purpose you feel: When you learn to celebrate with others, you discover the true purpose for living life. My new motto on social networking sites is share the positive, the whole positive, and nothing but the positive. Why? Because social networking is not all about me. This is my opportunity to serve others in the virtual world, just like in the real world. There is nothing more exciting than being able to take part in a big or small way in the success of other people. My life is richer because of it. Yours can be too!!

Question: How have you benefited from celebrating the successes of others?

I’m not a diehard fan of zombie movies, but I must admit I found World War Z entertaining. (If your interested, you can listen to a radio show I did recently on the psychology of the undead by clicking here.) In zombie flicks there is always a scene were the protagonist (the living) and the antagonist (the undead) have a chance to observe one another from a place of relative safety, often depicted as a chain link fence. Both have the desire to destroy one another but amid that destructive force lays a hint of curiosity. What’s it like to be on the other side?

There are so many of us today who feel like the “living dead.” We are going through the motions of life, but nothing seems to bring us pleasure or fulfillment. I’m not sure how this feeling developed or whether people of centuries past could relate to it. I do know that years ago, when someone in a community suffered, the people of that community suffered with them. During World War II, you might drive through your neighborhood and see a star in the window, representing a family member who died. People would bring meals to one another and stop by for a comforting word or two. Today we lack that kind of camaraderie because many of our communities are virtual. On social media sites like facebook, twitter, and google+, we don’t have to interact with each others’ suffering if we don’t want to. Recently, I was scrolling through the news feed on facebook and I began reading a post that described a recent disaster in the family. Without even thinking, I skipped past it to a funny youtube video another friend had posted.

That separation, that chain link fence, can also leave us wondering, “Am I the only one that feels dead?” When all you see are vacation pictures, delicious meals, funny videos, the best images of people smiling and living life to the fullest, it is easy to start questioning the fullness of our own reality. Here are some actions I’ve found helpful to fight that feeling:

1. Take a break from social media for a while and reach out to a LIVE person in your REAL community.
2. Stop focusing on the grand and amazing events of life, and stay present in the moment. Learn to find beauty in the ordinary. (A hot cup of coffee on a cold day, your favorite pen when you’re doing paperwork, the giggles of your son or daughter, a wet kiss from your pet.)
3. Remember that what you see in the virtual world is often an illusion. Everyone is human. Everybody hurts. Don’t look to social media to fill a void in you that only another live human being can fill.
4. Stop watching the lives of other people and start doing some living yourself! One moment at a time.

Questions: What activities in life bring you the most joy? How can you infuse more of those activities into your daily routine? What are some of the small things in life that you’ve been ignoring that might actually encourage and lift your spirits? Stay mindful of them through the next week and see how your attitude about life changes.

 

 

 

 

We all have a story and that is why I love what I do. I get to hear people’s stories every day, and yes, they are often filled with pain, but whose life story isn’t? The exciting thing is that in every person’s story, there is always room for redemption. That’s why I was excited to talk to Rebecca Carrell. Some of you know her from the KCBI Morning Show on 90.9. But many of you don’t know her back story, the one that led her to radio in the first place. She reminds us that when you have a desire you want filled, God always brings you home to the place where that desire can best be filled.

Check out Rebecca’s blog at www.loveserveshine.com and be sure to listen in to the program tonight at 6:30pm and 10:30pm on 90.9 KCBI. We will not only here Rebecca’s story, but also talk about the challenges that parents face in deciding how much social media should be allowed in the home with their kids. If you can’t listen tonight, you can also listen to it tomorrow once it’s posted online by clicking here.

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I am a board certified psychiatrist, author, speaker in private practice with Southwest Clinical and Forensics in Dallas Tx. I also serve as an adjunct professor at Dallas Theological Seminary. I have a passion for helping people through painful circumstances, be they physical illnesses of the brain, psychological conditions of the mind, social problems of everyday life, and/or spiritual crises of faith and worldview.

Disclaimer

All information provided is for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for a professional evaluation or treatment. If you are experiencing emotional distress, please contact a mental health professional. Dr. Henderson cannot respond to inquiries about prescription refills, or medical or psychiatric emergencies over the internet. If you are a patient in need of assistance, please contact Dr. Henderson’s office directly, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

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