Postpartum Depression

There’s a new bundle of joy in the family and everyone is thrilled. But instead of enjoying the new phase of your life as a mom, you feel like crying. So, what is it to be depressed about? Believe it or not, postpartum depression happens and it’s not just the typical baby blues that most new moms experience. Women with a previous history of depression, history of severe premenstrual dysphoric disorder or those who do not get enough support from family and friends are at risk for postpartum depression. The first few weeks of the baby’s arrival can be very stressful. Most of us think that motherhood is all bliss and nobody is really prepared for sleepless nights and never ending diaper changes.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression:
– Feeling lonely, helpless and hopeless for no reason
– Being overly sensitive or irritable
– Difficulty in concentrating
– Excessive crying or tearfulness
– Loss of interest in activities that are usually enjoyable
– Having a hard time falling or staying asleep
– Fatigue and lack of energy
– Changes in eating habits
– Headaches, stomachaches and backaches that won’t go away
It’s perfectly normal to feel a little blue out of exhaustion but if the symptoms don’t go away after a few weeks, it is very likely that the woman is suffering from postnatal depression. It is estimated that 10 to 15% of women suffer from this condition. With those numbers, we can safely say that postpartum depression is not a myth. Hormonal changes is one of the culprits for prolonged baby blues. Women who have just given birth experience a big drop in estrogen and progesterone. Their thyroid levels can also drop and this can result to exhaustion and depression. Combine these hormonal changes with changes in blood pressure and metabolism, you get postpartum depression.
Aside from rapid hormonal changes, some women get depressed because of the changes in their body. They may be experiencing physical pain from the delivery. Others feel insecure about the way their body looks. Pregnancy will cause tremendous changes in a woman’s body. It’s extremely difficult for some women to look in the mirror with a swollen belly that’s dressed with stretch marks. Another thing that can cause postpartum depression is the amount of stress that a mom experiences when caring for a newborn. Suddenly, there’s a tiny human being that fully depends on her. New moms do not get enough sleep and this can take a toll on their well-being. These adjustments can be overwhelming, causing a woman to feel the baby blues longer than expected. Postnatal depression is a type of clinical depression can affect a woman’s ability to care for her newborn child so it’s imperative to seek medical attention right away.

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Personal Happiness Assessment

Happiness test

Question: How happy are you?
Instruction:  For each question, select the answer that applies most accurately to you.
1. How do you feel about life?
Life is good. I have almost everything I want and have the ability to work for the things I need.
Life is ok. There is no major problem, but I don’t feel upbeat either.
Everything is not right. I wish I can get out of this mess quick!
Answer:

2. How often do you keep in touch with friends and families?
Regularly
When they contact me
Hardly ever
Answer:

3. What do you do when you are faced with a difficult problem?
I try to look at it from different angles to find the best solution.
I try to do the minimum to get rid of the problem.
Problem? What problem?
Answer:

4. How often do you exercise to keep fit?
Regularly.
Once in a while.
Hardly ever.

Answer:

5. Do you have a 5-year plan, yearly goal, quarterly quota and daily task list?
Yes, and I refer to it regularly.
Yes, but I don’t remember what it is.
No, I do not believe in planning ahead.
Answer:

6. You are looking for a job, and your skills match about 50% of the requirement. You are invited to an interview. How do you feel about your chances?
I am quite sure I will get the job if I put my best foot forward.
I will just attend the interview but be prepared that I may not be selected.
I don’t think my chances are high. Perhaps I should just skip the interview.
Answer:

7. A friend has recently lost his job and decided to start his own business. He came to you for advice because you are a successful entrepreneur. What would you do?
Provide all the help you can so that your friend can start a business and be successful as soon as possible.
Answer only the questions he asked. You don’t feel obliged to provide too much information.
Decline the request for help. You do not need another competitor.
Answer:

8. Do you like to acquire new knowledge, for example, learning to cook or a new language?
Yes, I enjoy learning new things.
Depends on whether it makes me money.
No, I don’t have the energy to learn more.
Answer:

9. You have received a promotion. How do you feel?

I feel very happy, honored and grateful. I will accept the greater responsibility that comes with the new job.
The increase in pay is good, but I fear the increased responsibilities will weigh me down.
It’s about time. Just a natural progression in my career.
Answer:

10. When life gets hectic, what do you do?
Stay calm, focus and be mindful about what’s going on and how to cope.
React to problems as they surface, without thinking much.
Shut down and do not talk to anyone.
Answer:

Compute your answers:
 Number of A’s

 Number of B’s

 Number of C’s

Which answer do you have the highest count?
A: Life is good – You are among the happiest among the people around you. Enjoy, keep it up, and help others!
B: Feeling indifferent – You are not exactly unhappy, but at the back of your mind you know you could do better.
C: It can only get better – You are not happy with your current circumstance. You feel that you deserve much better and it is about time you take action to claim your happiness!

What do you think are the obstacles in your path to achieving happiness?

In this section, we examine the possible obstacles to the path of happiness. The various factors are presented in the form of questions. It may not be possible to answer all of them at one go, as you might not have considered these questions before. Provide an answer if you have them, and a solution if you can. You may wish to consult a coach if you are in need of a solution.
Do you know what you actually want or need to be happy?Answer:Solution:
Do you place priority on your own happiness? (For example, do you make time for yourself to do what you enjoy?)Answer:Solution:
Do you think someone else is to be blamed for your unhappiness? (For example, parents, bosses, colleagues, the economy etc.)Answer:Solution:
Is your effort in achieving happiness actually preventing you from achieving it? (For example, trying to make more money because it can buy the things that will make you happy, but ignoring family and personal health in the process).Answer:Solution:
Do you think the happiness gurus are happier than ‘the rest of us’? (They are rich and famous for telling people how to be happy, so it is easier for them to be happy.) Answer:Solution:
Are there inaccurate beliefs about happiness that are ruling our lives? (For example, people are selfish and cannot be trusted. You can rely only on yourself.)Answer:Solution:
Do you put off important decisions or actions? (For example, having a difficult conversation, sorting out your finances etc.)Answer:Solution:
Do you have fears that if you appear happier than your peers, your will be rejected? (For example, you join in the gossip and complaint sessions, just to fit in).Answer:Solution:
Do you think these are valid obstacles? If they are, then it is worth taking a closer look and finding some ways to address them.

“I cursed the fact I had no shoes until I saw the man who had no feet.” Persian proverb
What actions would you take to achieve happiness?

Be kind to yourself
The most important step towards achieving happiness is to be kind to yourself. Much of our unhappiness stems from being too critical on ourselves. Have you ever had thoughts that you are not good enough for a job, or too slow in reacting to challenges, or not witty in responding to arguments, or not making the best decision to close an important deal etc.? Self-criticism is a defensive mechanism to keep us alert and safe, but an overdose brings misery. Be aware of the chatter going through your mind, and eliminate negative self-talk. You wouldn’t criticise a child so harshly, would you? So you should be kind to yourself too.
Do you hear any negative self-talk going on in your mind?

What does it say?

Can you replace it with positive and constructive ideas?
Appreciation and gratitude
Being appreciative of events and people calms the mind, and provide a fresh view to see things from a different angle.
Have a daily list of 3 items to be grateful for, and you will find more to be grateful for everyday.

Clarify your values
When you live by you values, there will be no ambiguity and conflict, and therefore greater peace of mind.
What are your values in these areas?
Work
Relationship
personal development
leisure
finance
family
social network
community
For example, if you place great value on family, and believe that family comes first, you will be happier with work decisions that allow you to be with your family more often.

Keep a journal of achievements
No matter how happy and confident we are, there will always be moments when we experience unexpected setbacks. Keep a journal of achievements and browse through them during such times. It will re-affirm your belief in yourself, and lift your spirit.

Make your own happiness list
This is the fun part. Many people keep a list of all the little things that makes them happy, and re-visits the list for inspirations when they are down. Start with simple ideas like a walk in the park, eating ice-cream, helping the elderly neighbour with grocery shopping etc. Include bigger goals like travels to favourite locations, hosting a dinner party etc.
How many items do you have on your list? If you list just 3 a day, it will be a long list of 1095 in a year!
What is the significance of this?
Firstly, it is not hard to find happiness in little things.
Secondly, the longer the list, the more reasons you have to be happy.
Thirdly, with consistent effort, the number of items in the list can exceed 1000 in a year.
Lastly, when listing happy items becomes a habit, the happy mindset will look for more happy items easily.
Start and keep growing the list. Share your list with others on social media platforms so that it can help others.

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Even if I take a wrong turn, I can find another route to success.

If I steer my vessel in the wrong direction, I can find a map and chart out a new course.  Stopping is not an option. I will find my way as long as I keep my eyes on the prize.

Success is a journey, not a destination. That is why I strive to make each step count. A positive attitude helps me move forward and, even when I am unsure of where I am, I am not lost. Instead, I choose to become a trailblazer. The generation coming behind me will have access to another route thanks to my resolve to stay the course and forge a new path.

When I come to a fork in the road I trust my intuition to guide me. Being spontaneous in this way helps me release my inner self and experience success in a new way.  Spontaneity gives me freedom.

Missing a turn causes me no panic because I know that I have countless options; I am not limited to only one way. A wrong turn may lead me to find a new way. The opportunity to explore the unknown excites me.

Although it feels daring to get off the fast-paced highway of life and take the scenic route, detours can be worthwhile because they lead me to discover the beautiful things in life that I otherwise may have missed. The road less traveled is filled with the most stunning sights.

Flexibility allows me to prosper despite failure. Being flexible gives me the strength to keep going when I would rather stop.

Self-Reflection Questions:

1. What do I do when I reach a dead end?
2. How might I become less rigid and more flexible?
3. What changes can I make to ensure that I enjoy the journey just as much as the end reward?

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Don’t WHAT-IF Yourself to Death

If you are the kind of person who has goals, ambitions, dreams and big ideas for your life, then you know that taking risks is an essential component of success. Lou Buscaglia said,  “The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.”
Risk is a natural part of life and the bigger the risk the bigger the reward. I don’t think many people would argue with this point.
Here is the dilemma. When it comes to risk, many people tend to “what if” themselves out of any and every positive idea that might move them in the direction of their goals. What I mean by “what if” themselves is that they imagine all kinds of disaster scenarios that may or may not occur should they take what appears to be a risky action.
Here is a prime example:
I left a career position with a blue chip company to pursue my dream business. When I handed in my resignation letter, I had a number of supportive colleagues and some who were not so supportive of my decision. But even the supportive people would talk to me about my big decision and look at me as the “lucky one”. They admired my bold move but in the same breath would talk about how they wish they could do the same.
When I told them that there was nothing stopping them from doing exactly what I was doing, they quickly responded with their “what if” disaster scenarios…
“What if I don’t earn enough money to pay my bills?”“What if I have medical expenses and can’t afford to pay them?”“What if I make the wrong decision and open the wrong kind of business?”“What if I have to work on weekends?”
Now I agree that these are all valid concerns given the conversation involved walking away from a good paying job, but the damage being done by imagining these things is where the real problem lies.
Not one of those “what if” statements assumed a positive outcome. Not one of those statements talked about all of the good that might happen in the person’s life if they were to walk away from a job they didn’t like in order to pursue a dream business.
While none of these negative scenarios had taken place yet, their mind convinced them that it was inevitable. The only difference between their mindset and my own, was that I was using my imagination to think of all the positive potential outcomes of leaving a job and pursuing a business. I was thinking ONLY of the positive outcomes. I was trusting.
They had the ability to trust as well. In fact they were already doing it but simply didn’t realize it. Every person does this every day.
There is inherent risk with every single action you take in your life. Every time you get into car, there is the risk of getting into an accident. When you go for a walk there is a risk of being mugged. When you go to a restaurant there is a risk of choking or food poisoning. When you take a shower, there is a risk of falling and hitting your head. The list is infinite!
The reason that most people don’t worry about these things is that we have come to trust that we are generally going to be safe throughout the course of our day. Unless something traumatic has happened, you probably don’t ever think about these kind of disaster scenarios.
Well the exact same kind of thinking is REQUIRED by the person who wants to pursue a big life goal and take action on the risky steps required to reach that goal. Could you lose money? Yes! Could you go bankrupt? Yes! Could you fall and break your leg? Yes! Welcome to life.
If you are ready, willing and COMMITTED to achieving great things for your life, then you need to change your “what if” questions from negative to positive?
What if I make it? What if I become wealthy? What if I save a life? What if I become free? What if I overcome my fears? What if I live my life to the fullest?
Use your imagination to picture your life from that perspective and boldly walk in the direction of your dream!

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