Wednesday, July 8, 2009

In the News: Self-Help

According to this story, self-help advice, when given in the form of feel-good affirmations, can often make one feel worse, rather than better.

Isn't it a shame that there's so much bad advice out there?

We've got a bright and experienced group here, though, and I just know we can do better. So what advice would you give someone who's feeling depressed, inadequate, and in need of a new path in life?

Anyone can answer!


Nevin said...

I think everyone would be happier if they got outside more and enjoyed nature!

Bo said...

A lot of people need to get laid more often. That would solve a lot of problems.

Ricky said...

Stop that, Bo. It's too early in the morning for a lot of people.

Bo said...

See what I mean?

Ricky said...

I would advise others to follow their dreams and not give up. Good things happen when you least expect it.

Vic said...

Well, isn't that uplifting, Ricky.

My advice is give blood often.

Troubadour said...

Life is shorter than you realize. Savor it, the good and the bad. Allow the bad times to provide perspective on how good the rest really can be.

Odd to hear this, I know, coming from an evil ghost such as myself...

Candy said...

My advice is to turn into someone else. I went Goth. Made me completely different. I'll probably change again soon though, the way things are going. Maybe Julie andrews in that old movie Sound of Music when she's singing on the mountain. I'll just imagine myself into her. Wow, that'd be different!

Jason said...

I deal with this a lot with Aidan, though he won't like me saying so. He's a big lovable bear on one hand, but at heart he's an insecure kid who had to grow up too soon. He took up the mantle of Lord Seer at 20. Not only is that very young by Sentinel historical standards, he didn't spend his life being prepared. He knew he was different, but he had no idea why until much later. He's also not trained and so he experiences a lot of insecurity around that.

He tends to lash out with sudden bouts of anger. Took me a while to realize he was just hiding his fright. But unfortunately we don't have a lot of time to indulge his fear. So we constantly have to get him moving and doing and learning, even when things aren't going well and he just wants to hide or sleep. It does seem to help.

So that's my advice. No matter how hard it is, get up and DO whatever it is you're frightened of.

Laurel said...

Bo, if it makes you feel any better that boy I married is quite a morning person. Unfortunately for me since I am not.

Regarding advise I would give another person, demon, whatever...

Absolutely none. Unless they ask for it and actually want to know what I think. In my experience the most self-destructive behavior in the world won't change no matter what anyone else says. At least not until the person wants to stop being so wretchedly miserable.

Kalila said...

You're very wise, Laurel. It's pointless to give advice to those who won't listen.

So perhaps that would be my advice: save your advice for those who'll benefit from it.

Ricky said...

But Kalila, don't you think sometimes a person ignores good advice at the time it's given but remembers and benefits from it later? I don't mean people should go around nagging, but sometimes it's good to just throw something out there. It might be useful later on.

Aidan said...

Not sure where to go with Jason's...thing, there.

But I hear a lot of miserable people, you know, in their own heads. Most people are sad about something, deep inside. But they think doing stuff is better than whining.

But sometimes people need some time to just be, I guess. They need to have their times of being sad. Otherwise you get like Kaelin, who never lets himself be sad or excited or ...anything. And so he doesn't have to deal with the bad stuff but he doesn't get much of the good stuff either, like Troubadour says.

Mira said...

Um, well, being in the helping profession, I interpreted this article alittle differently.

I didn't actually read it to mean that all self-help advice makes people feel worse. What I read is the study showed positive affirmations may not be very effective in helping to build low self-esteem.

Yeah. I've never been one for the positive affirmation band wagon.

On the other hand, Bo, you made me laugh, which was a great self-help for me this morning.

Marc said...

Hey Bo, I tend to be a morning person, too.

Jason's right about Aidan. When he gets to whinging on about something, it's best to distract him.

But Aidan, I don't think you give your brother enough credit. He deals with it as best he can, and I know you lads don't like having this pointed out, but you're still very young. He'll come round eventually.

Aidan said...

You lads? Sheesh. You treat us like four year olds half the time.

Marc said...

Hey, to us, you are. Immortal, remember?

But repeat this mantra and it might help you feel better:

I'm a brilliant Seer, a prince of Sentinel, not too annoying, and gosh darn it, people like me!

Aidan said...

How about you repeat this mantra and see if it works?

Aidan is not going to kick my ass today.

Marc said...

Hey mate, family site, remember? Miss Fettleston hears you talk like that and she'll have you cutting more hedges. Do you good, too.

Speaking of, there's rubbish all over the beach from last nights bonfire. Be a good lad and go clean it.

Nevin said...

Aidan, I think Marc has a good idea. Doing good works and making the world a better place is a great way to feel better about life. Even if you're already feeling good, you can always feel better.

bunnygirl said...

I'm sorry, Mira. Maybe I should change the post. I know exactly what the article said and I exaggerated for the sake of humor and discussion. (And also because of my own cynical view of the often ridiculous and unhelpful advice featured in pop-culture self-help guides.)


My advice: Don't assume. Don't exaggerate.

Anonymous said...

Beware of the helping professions.
Some are helpful.
Some are not.

I have worked with a number of creativity coaches to help stay on task through a number of various projects.

Some were amazing. One was instrumental in helping me get through my editing goals.

Another, who I hired specifically for help in the "getting it out" stage,
decided on her own
to coach me "in new creativity" and (I kid you not) "the disappointment of never getting published"...

that, without even TRYING to work on the "getting it out" stage

(with the one exception of sending me some bullet points that she copied off the internet: that would have guaranteed never getting past the query letter stage as they were lame, outdated, amateurish formulas for writing a query letter.)

ummm,I fired her...

It was like asking someone where north is and they point to the south or the west and say, go there.

When working with a helping professional, always know where you want to go and want you want help in.

They can get very distracted with their own agendas without client direction, especially if they are inexperienced.

Mira said...

Bunnygirl - goodness, don't change your posts! Let's just have an interesting discussion!

My goodness, you and I don't always have to agree.

And 'buyer beware' is a good thing when you're looking into any type of service - including the helping profession.

I just like to debate and argue. Please don't deprive me of that pleasure!! :-)

Anonymous said...

oh, I forgot to address the question at hand:

what advice would you give someone who's feeling depressed, inadequate, and in need of a new path in life?

We all feel that way sometimes.

Sometimes, it helps to go right into the bad feeling and work from there.

And sometimes, it is more helpful to look at what you want that's being blocked and get a roadmap for it.

And sometimes, it's nice to just take a vacation and go away for awhile.

Sometimes, a little of all of the above.

But only you can say, really, when it's right to go one way or another.

So that is probably a first question.


Psychotherapy sends you back to explore the past to untangle crossed wires.

Coaching provides a roadmap forward towards your goals.


Self-help is sort of like making a do-it-yourself project and that can work out very nicely in some instances and not so good (like in building your own airplane) in others, depending on how much life is attached to it or how much skill you come to it with.

And self-help varies from "put a rock on your head and imagine it turning you into a rich, hottie" to nuts and bolts realistic help.

Anonymous said...


I don't give advice.

Hi Aidan, Hi Candy


Anonymous said...

Great advice, Nevin!

Maxwell said...

I give good advice. Solve problems with bombs.


Problem gone.

DESTINY said...

My advice is thus: Follow your Destiny.

Bet you never thought I'd say that.

Ha ha. Little immortal concept humor.

But really. Follow your Destiny.

Paul / Peace Keeper said...

I think, if you're stressed, you must be workin' too hard. So relax, play a game, take a deep breath, ok breath with me. good air in, one two, three, bad air out, one two, don't stop, threeee. See? much better. now let's log in and go kick some evil criminal asses!

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,

I'll kick some ass.

Aidan is going to show me.


Paul / Peace Keeper said...

Sweet! Do you have a game account? In game, I'm the Peace Keeper.

What's the name of your character? It's a really fun game.

Christine H said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,

It's a game? I thought for real.

What game? I like games.


flower said...

Welcome to my world.
My advice is don't give advice.
It can't be heard.
Don't be scary happy and don't join in the sad.
Be near, if you want, but not in your face.
Use a hand to guide but don't be first to touch.
Be near, get near, put near and nearly do things but leave a space for the other person to be able to bridge - they will when they can.

Definition of Uncle Will.

Paul / Peace Keeper said...

It's called Hero Games, Shadow. It's a rpg where you make a hero and fight crime, but it's not just online, it's virtual reality. The helmet-thing like reads your brainwaves and sends new ones in and stuff, so you're totally inside the game. It's completely awesome! but it's still in the Beta testing, so I don't know if you can get into it.

Kalila said...

I would advise mortals to not get so hung up on things. Time is vast and unless you are very famous, not much of what you do will be remembered even a week from now, let alone years into the future.

This advice, of course, does not apply to Ricky.

Vic said...

That's right, Ricky. I'll never forgive you for making me sing to the rabbits at that stupid pet charity concert last March.

Ricky said...

So eternal shame as well as possible damnation is in my future?

Thanks a lot, guys. I won't forget this.

Kalila said...

Yes you will, Ricky. Alzheimer's is in your future, too.

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,

Wow. Cool. Wow.

Let me know if I can join.



Mira said...

Kalila - lol. You always crack me up.

You should run an advice column. You'd be fantastic at it.

Your Mother said...

Always do what your mother tells you to do.

Kaelin said...

I think getting to express yourself only goes so far. Some people get into self-expression loops and never quit.

I'm with Jason. Go DO something. That makes me feel better. Not that I really felt bad in the first place.

Paul / Peace Keeper said...

Shadow, all I can tell you is to check out the website:

I'm not even sure how I got picked to be one of the Beta testers, or when it will come out of Beta.

~Paul / The Peace Keeper, hero Games

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,

Okay, I will.



Victoria Dixon said...

I'd suggest they smile - even though they don't feel like it. Studies suggest that smiling changes the body's physiology and actually helps us feel better. We don't necessarily smile because we feel good. We also can feel good because we smiled. :)