The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

No "Side Effects"!

I just saw Steven Soderburgh's new film "Side Effects", which is terrific. On one level it is a psychological thriller about a woman dealing with depression, her husband's return from prison, and a maze of pharmacology. On another, it is an expose on the way our culture is becoming more and more dependent on these drugs...and vulnerable to their side effects.

Now, I'm not knocking the use of these substances if they are really necessary for our survival and welfare. I believe in having a powerful resource circle of experts, and our emotional health should be near the top of the list. But I also believe in not taking chemical intervention unless and until you have tried every natural way of raising our energy, clarifying our mood and living a life of joy and contribution.

So...if you are dealing with depression and stress, allow me to offer a few suggestions (and if you are under a doctor's care, please don't disregard their instructions!) that have no negative "side effects" at all...

1) Breathing 5X a day. Just taking five sixty-second "breathing breaks" during the day (one every three hours) can change your life.

2) Are your actions in alignment with your values? If any major aspect of your life: career, relationships, etc., are wildly out of synch with your deepest values, it will tear a hole in your heart. Find a way to bridget this gap.

3) Do you feel more pain than pleasure in connection with your actions and circumstances? Some part of you perceives threat in that arena. Anger and guilt are just sneaky versions of fear.

4) Do you move every day in a way that reminds you of your health, energy, and aliveness? It could be a brisk walk. Dancing. Yoga. Martial arts. But the fastest way to "reset" your emotions is to move in a new way. Get up RIGHT NOW, put on a favorite song and shake your booty. Breathe smoothly and stay WITHIN the flow of your breathing. Dance in slow motion if you have any physical limitations, but MOVE.

When you stop moving, you start dying.

5) Get hugs. Physical contact. We are herd beasts. We came to life within a living body, and would have died in infancy without contact. We are PROGRAMMED to need touch. Find a way to get a dozen hugs a day from people who respect, honor and love you.

6) If you don't have such connection (or even if you do) spend 15-20 minutes a day listening to (feeling for) your own heartbeat.

7) Write out the emotions that arise when you practice any of these great techniques.

The "Ancient Child" meditation is coming very soon, and it will be the biggest bargain you've ever seen (or FREE!). But I didn't want to wait to offer you hope.

Make TODAY a masterpiece!


Mirta Sanchez said...

I came to you via WE ARE RESPECTABLE NEGROES-a commenter linked to you and it was obviously intended for my betterment because THIS article is gorgeous.
Thanks for those reminders. I need them daily. THANKS.

Steven Barnes said...

Very welcome. Personally, I'd rather be extraordinary than respectable...