Thursday, February 22, 2018

Dementia and Depression

There is a close connection between dementia and depression -- both medical conditions have to do with a dysfunctional mind.

Loss of memory may lead to depression. The human brain performs thousands of tasks, and we are usually unaware of most of them. Patients with dementia, due to brain damage, often become frustrated when they cannot perform simple daily chores they used to be capable of doing. This alone is enough to put many into a depression.

However, not all individuals suffering from dementia have depression, although those who have both dementia and depression will demonstrate improvement in their memory once their depression is treated. Accordingly, it is important to treat the symptoms of depression in those with dementia in order to give the patients better quality of life as well as their caregivers and family members an easier time to cope with their dementia problems.

One of the behavioral symptoms of dementia is social withdrawal -- a result of inability to respond and communicate with others, as well as a way of coping when things get too complicated for the dementia mind. In communication, sensory input is important. Persons with dementia may remember only partially what they have just heard, and thus their response represents only part of the message received. Defective communication only accentuates the sense of loss in those with dementia. The result is withdrawal -- which is also a common symptom of depression. It is, therefore, critical to determine if the individual has depression, or simply the symptoms of dementia. Other characteristic symptoms of depression include: weeping; weight loss; change of sleep patterns; fatigue; and preoccupation with health problems. Depression in individuals with dementia should be treated to avoid further strain on their memory loss problem.

In addition to the use of medications to relieve symptoms of apathy and listlessness in depression or dementia, keep the patient mentally and physically active. However, it is important to know the limits -- which means knowing the level of involvement and capability of involvement. Remember, small failures may have damaging, instead of beneficial, results on the dementia mind; likewise, repeatedly telling a depressive individual to snap out of a depression only engenders further frustration without facilitating the recovery.

 Stephen Lau

Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau

Monday, February 19, 2018

Your Emotions and Your Depression

Your body lives in the physical world, and thus it plays a pivotal role in your overall being, including your mind and your soul. Science has already attested to the close connection between the body and the mind: the body affects the mind as much as the mind affects the body.

Human emotions, in particular, affect the physical body. In Woody Allen's movie Annie Hall, Diane Keaton would like to know why he wasn’t angry. "I don't get angry," he humorously replied, "I grow a tumor instead." Indeed, toxic emotions can lead to a toxic body.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), human emotions are the major underlying causes of many diseases and disorders because for centuries Chinese physicians have believed that certain body organs are related to emotional activities; for example, the heart is related to joy, the liver to anger, the spleen to obsessive thoughts, the lungs to anxiety, and the kidneys to fear. Therefore, excessive emotions may disrupt the free flow of qi, the life-giving energy that flows through the body, and thus causing imbalance and disharmony that may lead to diseases and disorders.

In addition, human behaviors—often a byproduct of human emotions—affect the mind, just as emotions of the mind affecting the body. According to a study at Ohio State University in 2003, physical behavior, such as enhanced body language of nodding in agreement or shaking head in disagreement, may significantly affect how we think without our knowing it. According to that study, even posture, such as sitting up straight, may be conducive to remembering positive memories or thinking positively, because posture changes the production of human hormones.

The interconnection between the body and the mind is further evidenced by the indisputable notion that a healthy heart produces a healthy brain by pumping sufficient oxygen and nutrients to nourish the brain through its bloodstream.

Stephen Lau  
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Friday, February 16, 2018

Go Through Depression to Get Out of Depression

My Way! No Way! TAO Is The Way!
TAO Wisdom To Live And Survive In A World Of Depression

This book is perhaps one the few books with an unconventional approach to depression, a universal mind disorder affecting many people worldwide. Instead of the conventional ways of avoiding depression with distractions, such as exercise, suppressing its symptoms with affirmations and visualizations, and elevating its depressive moods with medications, this 180-page book uses the ancient wisdom from China, what is known as TAO wisdom, to experience anything and everything in depression, that is, going through every aspect of depression. in order to become enlightened.  

TAO wisdom may enlighten you so that you can ultimately free yourself from depression, or at least look at your own depression very differently.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Depression and the Mind

Depression is one of the most devastating mental illnesses. Unlike other physical ailments, depression deprives an individual of identify:  the individual can go on for years without getting anything done, or having any idea what want to do with life; drifting from one thing to another, and not knowing what to want from life.  Spiraling down into a bottomless pit of despair, the individual simply loses the capability to live well.

If you are suffering from mental depression, you are not alone. There are millions of people all over the world who have this disorder.  In depression, you tend to see things with your brain, instead of with your eyes; similarly, you hear with your brain and not with your ears. Perception is all in the mind. But, unfortunately, these deceptive perceptions become so "real" to you that you begin to "believe" in them, especially when they continually talk to you as internal dialogues.

People with mental depression usually have muddled thinking: there are too many thoughts filtering through their minds. As a result, they have a tendency to analyze or to explain their perceptions so as to make some sense of or to draw some conclusions from what is going through their mind. Unfortunately, analyzing or thinking through what is in the mind will only create more mental blockages that only perpetuate the inertness and sense of loss, which are characteristic of a depressive mind.

Instead of explaining or striving to explain any given situation or event, you just learn to let go. The ability to let go of what you are holding on to holds the key to recovery. Many individuals suffering from mental depression turn to the use of medications as a miracle cure. Medications may lift their moods through the enhancement of neurotransmitters, but they do not get to the root of the problem— which is the mind. It is always mind over matter.

To sum up, do not analyze or explain whatever that happens in your life. Just learn to let go. Yes, letting go is the answer to the confusion of a depressive mind. Those suffering from mental depression must have undergone some traumatic experiences that triggered their mental depression. Depression does not just happen to any individual without a reason. It is the inability to let go of the past that perpetuates the recurrence of depressive thoughts. Medications can suppress these symptoms, but they do not remove them for good.

Now, the burning question: how to let go?

Letting go is easier said than done. Your conscious mind might have relinquished all depressive thoughts of past experiences, but your subconscious mind may still be clinging on to them like leech. The only way to access your subconscious mind is through meditation, which can give not only clarity of mind, but also the perception of priorities in life. Once your mind is clear, and you see the top priorities in your life, you will begin to look at everything in perspective. Knowing what is the most important and the least important may help you let go. Through meditation, you can conduct internal dialogues, which are affirmations, with your subconscious mind, thereby instrumental in changing your conscious mind. Your subconscious mind can influence your conscious mind to let go.

Once the mind becomes uncluttered, depressive thoughts may dissipate. If you wish to heal your depression, you need to heal your mind first. It is always mind over matter.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, February 5, 2018

Living in a World of Depression

Antidepressant prescribing has risen nearly 400% since 1988, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than 1 in 10 Americans over age 12 now take an antidepressant and yet two-thirds of those with severe symptoms of depression do not take antidepressants at all.

Depression is most prevalent in people ages 45-64 and highest among Hispanic and African-American ethnicity. Overall, women have higher rates of depression than men and are twice as likely to have symptoms of depression as men of the same age. 1 in 10 women experience depression in the first few weeks of having a baby.

An estimated 121 million people around the world currently suffer from some form of depression. The US makes up over 30% of the total results.

We are living in a world of unhappiness, which is not a contemporary human condition—in fact, it is a mind disorder as ancient as man.

In ancient times, according to the Bible, King David of Israel was often mentally troubled, and he forever battled against his deep despair. In many of the Psalms, he expresses his anguish, loneliness, fear of the enemy; his heart often cries over sin, and the guilt because of it. Another Biblical example is Elijah, the great prophet, who was often discouraged, weary, and afraid. Even after his great spiritual victories over the prophets of Baal, this mighty man of God feared and ran for his life into the desert, where he prayed. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” (1 Kings 19:4)

In modern age, Sir Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, underwent serious bouts of depression during his country's national crisis in World War II. The fact of the matter is that depression is no respecter of persons—even for those with very high I.Q., such as the Nobel Prize winning author Ernest Hemingway, who committed suicide, just as his father did, with the comment “I’ll probably go the same way.”

Indeed, many of us are vulnerable to this genetic mental disorder of unhappiness. To many, the word “depression” may be synonymous with the word “unhappiness”; but the reality is that happiness is not the absence of depression. So, even if you are not depressed at all, you may still be unhappy.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Fear Is Stress

Fear Is Stress

Fear comes with aging. As you age, fear may come in many different forms, such as fear of falling, fear of becoming ill, fear of loneliness, and, above all, fear of dying. Fear makes you depressed.

Fear can paralyze you. If you are afraid to fall, it will immobilize you. You will be afraid to go out lest you fall. Unfortunately, immobility is the leading cause of falls among the elderly. The reason is that you fall because your muscles have lost their flexibility due to immobility, and hence the body balance, resulting in falls. Overcome fear of falls by exercising muscles at any age, and by improving vision.  

Fear of becoming ill is another cause of stress to the body and the mind. You become more vulnerable to illnesses, not necessary due to age, but because of a weakened immune system. Stress, in any form, weakens the immune system. Learn to relax your mind. It is easier said than done. You need the mind to help you. Learn to harness your mind power, which controls your thinking, your decisions and actions as a result of it. Meditation is the best way to relax. Meditation can heal; easy meditation techniques to relax both your body and mind.

Fear of loneliness is often due to lack of purpose in life. Spirituality is the art of living well. Cherish your spiritual growth as you continue to age to overcome fear of loneliness and fear of death.

Remember, although a mental feeling, fear is a delayed physical reaction. If you feel fear in your body, you become fearful for your body. For example, if you have a deadline to meet in your work, you become stressed; that is, you become fearful of the possibility of losing your job. By the same token, fear of fall, of becoming ill can have similar related consequences created in the mind. Any physical fear creates yet another stress—the stress to avoid the fear of pain, injury, or even death. Do not let the vicious circle of fear impair your health and rob you of your wellness.

When fear is acutely felt in your body, it causes anxiety that can cause physical illness. Worse, once fear becomes a habit, it is hard to be eradicated. Much of human adult behavior is based on the fear that is created in the mind through erroneous perceptions. To solve this mental problem, you will have to begin with the mind—always mind over matter.

The good news is that meditation can help you stop, and listen to your inner voice, and accept who you are and what you are. Essentially, meditation enables you to get to know true self with self-acceptance without fear. Meditation changes what the mind’s eye perceives. It is based on a feeling of isolation and separation, so that you will understand ultimately your true self.

Stephen Lau
Copyright © 2018 by Stephen Lau

Monday, January 22, 2018

Depression By Choice Not By Chance

Are you depressed right now?

Your Thoughts Put You Where You Are

You are where you are right now by choice and not by chance. You may not like where you are—depressed—but you will continue to remain there unless you are willing to change your thinking mind and to accept the notion that you are where you are for the specific purpose of learning how to grow and transform yourself in order to get away from where you are right now. Without this acute awareness, you will continue to remain in your status quo.

Remember, your circumstances do not make you the person you are; they only reflect what you truly are. So, if you do not like what you have now become due to the circumstances, you must be prepared to transform yourself by changing your thinking. You are the creator of your own conditions and circumstances.

Thinking question

Every morning, on waking up, ask yourself: Do I like what I see in the mirror?

Your Thoughts Become Who You Are

You are who you are by virtue of your thinking, and your thoughts become the essence of your personality.

You are the products of your thoughts, because you identify yourself with the thoughts in your subconscious mind. In other words, you “think” you are who you are by reason of the thoughts absorbed in your subconscious mind. Because the absorption is spontaneous and automatic, your subconscious mind is incapable of analyzing or validating their authenticity; that is to say, what you “think” you are may not be the “real” person that you really are.

Harness Your Mind Power

Your mind power is totally within yourself. What you really need is self-discovery through self-analysis with complete honesty. If you learn to observe, control, and change your thoughts, you will become the master of your thoughts, thereby instrumental in changing who you think you are and what you have now become.

The only way to empower your mind is through your higher self—the place where your mind operates and your thoughts originate from.

THE BOOK OF LIFE AND LIVING may help you empower your mind to live the life you want to live.

This book is about the art of living well through understanding and embracing the wisdom of Tao—the wisdom of Lao Tzu succinctly expressed in TAO TECHING, one of the most translated works in world literature. However, Tao wisdom is simple but difficult to understand. THE BOOK OF LIFE AND LIVING explains in simple language with common everyday examples to illustrate the essence of Tao wisdom and how it may integrate with conventional wisdom to live a life of your choice.

This 200-page book is full of wisdom based on the author’s extensive research and personal experience. In this book, you will learn the following:

(1) Eliminating unproductive thoughts, and overcoming chaotic struggles in your inner world and outer life to enhance health and performance, master stress, and deepen appreciation of life.

(2) Understanding the essentials of contemporary wisdom and ancient wisdom to help you contemplate and internalize their respective meanings and values in your daily life

(3) Harnessing mind power to operate your mind to integrate the acquired knowledge into your daily activities.

THE BOOK OF LIFE ANDLIVING is the wisdom in the art of living well.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Self-Acceptance Is Anti-Depression

Self-Acceptance is anti-depression. If you cannot accept yourself for who you are, you cannot love yourself, and not loving yourself is always the beginning of depression.

In a general sense, self-esteem is the positive or negative evaluative perception of self.  It is a rating of self based on a partial assessment of current and/or past traits. Many mental health professionals claim that achieving higher self-esteem is the keystone of good mental health, in particular, in avoiding depression; such claims, however, are dubious at best.

Low self-esteem is self-doubt, often expressed in not asserting oneself in public or workplace, and not pushing past one’s comfort zones.

To love yourself is self-acceptance, which is accepting who and what you really are—and not who and what you wish you were (that is, your ego-self). It should also be pointed out that “loving yourself” and “loving your ego-self” are not quite the same. The former is loving yourself for who you really are, despite all your imperfections; the latter involves loving or craving to be the person you wish you were. “Loving yourself” means you can love others as well because they are not very different from you in that they, too, are as imperfect as you are. On the other hand, “loving your ego-self” means it is very difficult to love others because you want to distinguish and separate yourself from others; accordingly, others must somehow satisfy your ego first before you can love them. That explains why if you have a big ego-self, you cannot easily and readily love others.

The bottom line: if you can accept yourself as who and what you are, then it may become much easier for you to accept and love others as who and what they are. The absence of love is a mindset for depression.

Stephen Lau     
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, January 15, 2018

A Simple Lifestyle to Avoid Depression

Consciousness of Living a Simple Lifestyle

Consciousness of living a simple lifestyle is the key to happiness and longevity.

In this day and age, living in this complex world of technology is not easy: The complexity of this world has taken a toll on the human mind, creating undue stress, as well as many emotional, mental, personal, and psychological attachments in the material world. For these reasons, profound human wisdom in living is essential to overcoming stress and letting go of all attachments. Simplicity is the first step towards detachment, which holds the key to unlocking the door to happiness. Live a simple lifestyle, deleting all the trimmings of life and living, as well as all the attachments that may have a negative impact on your mind.

Can you live a simple lifestyle to help you let go of all the trimmings of life?

When you were in your younger days, you might have had many attachments to life that define who you were, such as the car you were driving, the designer dress you were wearing, or anything that defined your social status. Can you, at this point in your life, let go of all these attachments and just lead a simple life? 

A classic example is Ann Russell Miller, a celebrated socialite from San Francisco, also known as Sister Mary Joseph, She, who had ten children and nineteen grand-children, had grown up in luxury and privilege, and had been living a life of incredible wealth. Instead of shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue, and decorating herself with jewelry from Tiffany, she suddenly decided to give up everything, and became a nun devoted to living in poverty for the rest of her life. That unbelievable event happened more than two decades ago, and was then widely reported in the media across the country. Why did she make such a drastic and incredible change in her life? She said she had a calling, a true vocation that was hard to understand for the general public,  even for the close members of her family.

With less focus on your attachments to the material world, your heart will be more on your spirituality, which is critical to your living to 100 and beyond.

This 154-page book is about how to live your life as if everything is a miracle if you just don’t die as you continue with you life journey with the many changes and challenges confronting you, including your loss of vision.

Human existence is meaningless without life purpose and human happiness. The pursuit of longevity has been going on since time immemorial. Consciousness holds the key to the success of this pursuit. Consciousness of living is wisdom of the mind to understand the self, others, as well as how and why certain things happen. Wisdom in living enables one to complete the rest of one's life journey and reaching the destination.

To live to 100 and beyond—if you just don’t die—you must ask questions about life; after all, living is about asking questions and seeking answers to the questions asked, and thereby instrumental in providing wisdom or a blueprint to continue the rest of your life journey.

The first question you should consciously ask yourself is: "How long do I wish to live?" Of course, that is only a hypothetical question because you really don’t have much of a choice—unless you would like to purposely end your life prematurely. Naturally, the answer to that question may also change over different phases in your life, depending on the quality of your life in that particular phase.

The second question you should consciously ask yourself is: "Why do I want to live long, or why not?" This question will be naturally followed by the third question: “How do I live long, or what can make me desire to live longer?”

The final question—if you just don’t die—is: "How should I live the rest of my life to overcome my daily problems and life challenges?"

The objective of this 154-page book is neither to convince you to crave longevity, nor to show you how to live to one hundred and beyond. It simply presents you with the consciousness of living the rest of your years—if you just don’t die!

Click here to get your digital copy.

Stephen Lau
Copyright © Stephen Lau

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Judgment and Perspective

Humans are very self-centred, always focusing on the ego-self. Accordingly, we always see things only from our own perspectives—that often becomes the source of all human conflicts, and hence the origin of most human miseries.

To make yourself become a better and a happier individual, you must learn to change your thinking. To do just that, you need human wisdom, and one of its essentials is mindfulness, which is awareness of what is going on in your mind, how you think, and how your thoughts create your so-called “realities” that are responsible for your happiness or unhappiness.

Judgment and Perspective

Through repeated mental training, you may begin to change for the better: becoming less easily angry and more readily loving and forgiving. More importantly, you may become more capable of assessing and analyzing the long- and short-term consequences of your actions on yourself as well as on others.

Slowly and gradually, you may no longer identify anyone as your “enemy” because, according to TAO wisdom, there should be “no judgment”—which is no comparison and contrast. You don’t compare person “A” with person “B”, or with yourself; and you don’t even compare your “present” self with your “past” self. The explanation is that everything remains only with that very present moment, because everything is changing every moment.

With no judgment, you may also begin to see anything and everything in perspective, and in its own reality. All material things, people, and even your own body may not be the sources of your happiness. Instead, the material things you always crave may make you sad, the people you love may give your trouble, and the body you own may give you pain. No judgment is part and parcel of letting go—one of the essentials of Tao wisdom, and an indispensable ingredient in eliminating anger and envy, among many other negative emotions that are the real destroyers of your happiness in life. Remember, everything is impermanent, and nothing lasts.


Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Dementia and Depression

There is a close connection between dementia and depression -- both medical conditions have to do with a dysfunctional mind. Loss of m...