Your snooze button is harming you

Sorry for the dramatic headline but I think it’s true. Have a read of this:

Most people see the snooze button as a luxury that promises just a little more energy, but in fact, it screws up the morning and beyond. Hitting snooze may offer a temporary sense of relief, but there is mounting evidence that it also keeps us from starting our day with a feeling of purpose.

In his book, The Miracle Morning, Hal Elrod explains that the danger of the snooze button is that every time you hit it, you are implicitly saying that you don’t want to wake up to your life.

If you’re thinking, “Meh, not such a big deal,” think again. There are graver conditions than apathy associated with over-snoozing – the most insidious of which is depression. Repeatedly hitting the snooze button in resistance to rising gives you the sense that you have nothing to look forward to, leading to feelings of purposelessness and passivity very similar to what depressed people feel.

The Most Harmful Thing You’re Doing Before You Even Get Out of Bed – Page19

That deeply chimed with me because I’ve been doing the snooze a lot lately, including this morning, and I can see directly how my mood is different to when I get up at 5am as planned. Read the full piece.

Depression and junk food

Listen, depression is depression: you can have it regardless of your circumstances and if you think you can cheer someone up out of it with a tickling stick, you’re off my Christmas list. And I mean my Christmas present list, not just the cards.

But it’s also true that there are things that do and don’t help. Plus, depression like anything else is affected by our bodies and the stuff going on in there. So this Time feature on research into whether junk food nobbles us is interesting, if a bit inconclusive:

Diets higher on the glycemic index, including those rich in refined grains and added sugar, were associated with greater odds of depression, the researchers found. But some aspects of diet had protective effects against developing depression, including fiber, whole grains, whole fruits, vegetables and lactose, a sugar that comes from dairy products and milk that sits low on the glycemic index.

Added sugars—but not total sugars or total carbohydrates—were strongly associated with depression.

Though the authors couldn’t pinpoint a mechanism from this study—it was associative—they note that one possibility is that the overconsumption of sugars and refined starches is a risk factor for inflammation and cardiovascular disease, both of which have been linked to the development of depression.This kind of diet could also lead insulin resistance, which has been linked to cognitive deficits similar to those found in people with major depression.

The Strange Link Between Junk Food and Depression – Mandy Oaklander, Time (29 June 2015)

Read the full piece.

Avoiding seasonal depression when you work alone

There’s no doubt that life as a freelancer has its perks. We get to structure our days as we wish, work with clients we like, and don’t have to sell eight-hour blocks of our day to an employer. But when working from home or at the local coffee shop, we face social isolation, which puts us at risk for anxiety and depression. And as winter approaches, it comes with a heightened risk of seasonal depression.

3 Ways Freelancers Can Avoid Isolation—and the Seasonal Depression That Comes With It – Michael Tunney, Contently (19 November 2014)

Read the full piece for advice.

Depression, the freelance life and how to cope with both

Following today’s earlier post about how the internet can spot when we’re depressed – though that’s not the same as it doing anything about it – the mental health issue continues with this more active article. Always and forever, remember this: depression is not the same as sadness. If you’re dep ressed and someone tells you it might never happen then you are fully and legally entitled to ram their tick ling stick up into intensive care.


It is true that if you are prone to depression, there are things that make it worse or rather that make the experience worse. Bad things are always bad. Bad things do not cause depression. But a bad thing when you are depressed is crippling. I think of it this way: when you’re up and happy and excited, it only takes a pinprick to bring you back down into the mire of misery. Whereas if you’re down, it’s going to take one hell of a boost to make you even suspect that there are or there can ever be good times.

Fortunately, freelance life has a lot of boosts even though it also has a lot of pricks.

Jenni Miller writes here in Contently about the twin issues of being freelance and of being depressed: the two don’t go together, but when they meet, it’s murder:

The freelance lifestyle is incredibly tough, and managing mental health on top of everyday concerns like invoices and deadlines can feel overwhelming. As someone who’s lived with anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive order since I was a child, I’ve found that working as a freelancer has an equal amount of benefits and drawbacks when it comes to self-care and mental health. On one hand, it’s extraordinarily helpful to be able to make my own hours. If I am having a really bad day, I know I can take a few hours off and finish up a project later that night or over the weekend. At the same time, the isolation of working by myself and for myself can push all of my most vulnerable buttons.

Dealing with those drawbacks can be challenging, but over the years, I’ve relied on a few tactics that keep me healthy and productive even as the ebb and flow of freelance work swirls around me.

6 Important Mental Health Tips That Will Help Freelancers Stay – Jenni Miller, The Freelancer, by Contently (24 October 2014)

Read the full piece.

Sunday read: the Internet knows when you’re depressed

How do depressed people behave online? According to a new study of college students with depressive symptoms — recently described by its authors in the New York Times — they compulsively check email, watch many videos, spend a lot of time playing games and chatting, and frequently switch back and forth between applications.

The Internet Knows You’re Depressed, but Can It Help You? – Maia Szalavitz, (22 June 2012)

It’s not at all clear whether you do these things because you’re depressed or whether doing this makes you depressed or whether you’re really just trying to get those crumbs out of your keyboard. And I have to think that chatting is a good thing. But read the full piece, would you?

Stop overthinking everything

Years and years ago, my therapist told me that I overthink things. I still wonder what she meant.

This article buzzed around Facebook today and I found it useful because actually, yes, I do overthink. And it is a problem.

We all do our best to stay positive, but occasionally we can slip into negative thinking patterns that can wreak havoc on our lives. We might worry about our past mistakes or current stresses, and how these could lead to negative outcomes in the future. We might obsess about or over-analyze regular experiences and interactions, reading into them things that aren’t actually there. We might find that as soon as one bad thing happens, we associate it with all the other bad things that have happened in our lives and begin to feel miserable. We might feel anxious in the present, having a hard time getting out of our own heads as we worry and obsess about the things that could go wrong.

If you find yourself in this place frequently, you are what psychologists call a ruminator, or, an over-thinker, and this way of thinking can be harmful to your health. Psychologists have found that over-thinking can be detrimental to human performance, and can lead to anxiety and depression, especially in women, who are much more likely than men to ruminate on stress and disappointments than men.

8 Ways to Stop Over-Thinking and Find Peace in the Present Moment – Dr Kelly Neff, The Mind Unleashed (9 September 2014)

I find it helpful enough to just have my head explained there but the full piece includes the eight helpful suggestions of the title and they are good. Even the one that explains bloody walking is good for you. What is it with that today?

This is the time you feel worst

When you’ve got a rejection. Or, according to The Atlantic, “depression strikes most around 7 or 8pm.”

It’s from a study that was not just solely American but also primarily about American teenagers. But it was done as an afterthought. There is a US service that’s like a texting equivalent of ChildLine or the Samaritans: teenagers can text in with their problems. You can immediately see how that would be good.

What perhaps Crisis Text Line of New York didn’t immediately see was that texts are logged and stored with a date and timestamp. With masses of texts all automatically, naturally having this information, it was like handing the charity a gigantic information resource.

So there are details about when people needing its help were feeling at their worst. And by when, it’s to the second. Do read the full piece because this technically curious secondary affect of the texting service contains some heartlifting details.