USCG Specific


by award-winning stress-relief expert Susie Mantell (author: "Your Present: A Half-Hour of Peace")
NOTE: Enjoy more of Susie's FREE stress tips or "Ask Susie.." your own stress questions at

Dear Friends at,

We've all been there at one time or another, for one reason or another and to greater and shallower depths. The Blues affect us all and at times, that Truth alone is a comfort, for when we are "in the hole" it can be dark and lonely; a confusing and even paralyzing place. It is the healthy human experience to move through a full range of emotions that will include joys and victories, love and tenderness, utter delight and unbridled, exuberant laughter! But the span of a lifetime will also encompass sadness. We will know fear, loss of loved ones, perhaps the end of a career from which we derived self-esteem..or loss of a great love, or one's home or health or independence. The stress of those challenges can seem insurmountable, but 'tincture of time,' some good friends, good counsel, good medical care and the extraordinary resilience of the human spirit against extreme odds, somehow see us through. We will laugh again; we will know joy and peace and hope..

But sadness is not synonymous with Clinical Depression. People can experience biochemical or major depression of a different, deeper nature, where peace is elusive; stress pervasive. The anxiety, isolation and uncertainty of Clinical Depression can create chronic stress both for the person experiencing it and those in their lives who wish they could make it better. Life can be very difficult. I have come to the unwavering conclusion that it is often Hope above all else, that sees us through the most difficult moments in our lives. Just a sparkle will do it. So for those of you who may know someone who suffers from depression, I share the following "Q & A." May the following bring Hope to anyone reading this.. who could use some.

Q: "Dear Susie, What can I do to relieve the stress of what is happening to me? I've been diagnosed with Clinical Depression. I just can't snap out of it. I am anxious and lonely. My life is falling apart.."

A: I'm so sorry...this is a very, very hard time. But your diagnosis means that you know now why you've been feeling so miserable, and perhaps in a way, the worst really is behind you. Those suffering from Clinical Depression can now receive excellent care and support to see them through to the light again. Sometimes we don't simply "snap" out of it...but rather, "gradually surface." I hear how much it feels like it's all falling apart. But during such a slump, sometimes "It" is actually figuring out how to pull itself TOGETHER.. better this time. You are rebuilding your engine. Now you have a place to start.

Clinical Depression is a medical condition, not a bad mood or an attitude problem, and can be addressed in a number of ways. First and without exception, I recommend building a comfortable, ongoing relationship with a mental health professional you trust...and you LIKE! There is real work in exploring and finding one's way back from depression, and a skilled, compassionate therapist can offer support, fresh perspective, a safety net, and help to rediscover who we CAN be. Ask your physician about what you are going through and perhaps have an overall physical to reassure yourself, or address anything that needs attention. Chemical intervention is not appropriate for everyone and is best determined by your health care professional and monitored on a case by case, and day by day basis, but in some cases, a licensed practitioner may advise anti-depressant medication or nutritional supplements that may be useful, even for a short time.

You are asking an important questions about relieving some of the associated stress. There are many new insights about genetic and biochemical factors, even food sensitivities. Some common offenders are sugar and alcohol. When undiagnosed and untreated, some resort to self-medicating for a quick, (but highly counter-productive) fix, with alcohol, drugs, excess food.. or anorexia, etc. Many find dramatic benefits in healthy nutrition and daily exercise,skilled counseling,personally meaningful spiritual practice, breathwork, bodywork and other stress-management techniques.

I recall thinking once, "I know my glass really IS half-full but I feel like I'm drowning in it." When we're sad, it's not easy to remember to take extra-good care of ourselves.Let friends and family help. Journal your feelings and give these SIMPLE SOOTHERS below a try. One day, this time will be just a memory, as you move forward into new, as yet unwritten, chapters and adventures of your life!


..from the absence of family or a sense of community, to feeling isolated and alone even among others. People who create meaning in their lives, who experience "connection" within and outside themselves, tend to enjoy deeper peace and satisfaction personally and professionally. Individual belief systems and lifestyles will dictate how one discovers a sense of connection. It is often Faith, whether in a religious context, or Faith in the abiding strength of the human spirit, that sees us through. Look for goodness in others. Find ways to laugh...and give. Get up, bathed, dressed, and outdoors each day. It helps. Take a look at my stress-relief tips (especially
"70 Ways to Feel Really Good ..FAST!" ) A sense of wonder, of nature, curiosity and gratitude all replenish a weary spirit. Meditation, prayer, movement, music and healthy relationships remind us when we are alone...that we need not feel lonely. I believe we each come here with purpose and with gifts to share with others. It's difficult to feel lonesome, with your hand extended to ease another's journey...or to allow another to touch yours..


Stuck in a Rut? Shift Gears! Take a brisk walk, varying your route and find 6 things that make you laugh along the way. Try Tai Chi, Reflexology, Reiki, or prepare an exotic new recipe. Get a free makeover in a department store. Rent a movie you'd NEVER pick. Buy a pet. Plan a trip. Tense day? Shake it up! Pop in some oldies and sing--really loud!

Overwhelmed? Start Small... Make a "To Do" list of no more than 5 tasks. Keep goals small and manageable. House a mess? Piles to file?

1) Ask for help.
2) Organize just ONE drawer.
3) Work 30 minutes on/30 off.
4) Pay 3 bills at a time. (Or pay weekly -- avoid that "monthly mountain.")
5) List your day's successes...enjoy a healthy reward for your efforts!

Overworked? Re-Balance Your Day

-Take a lunch break every single day. Go for a walk. Feed the ducks. (Ducks need lunch too!)
-Organize your desk. (..okay, file just one pile.) External clutter can really increase internal stress.
-Take a mini-break every hour--No excuses.
-Keep water handy. Dehydration stresses the whole system.
-Write in your journal for 10 minutes.(OK. 4.)
-End your day with a steaming shower and one quiet "No-TV" evening.

Looking for the Secret to Happiness? (Hint: It's in the Little Things)

- Pick out 3 cards. Send to 3 people for no particular occasion.
- Tell someone they've done a GREAT job!
- Smile at strangers. (Keep trying. SOMEbody'll smile back.)
- Make up with someone you're angry at. If forgiveness is in order, find some. Life is too short to waste much of it feeling angry...

Spirits Need a Lift? Make a "Thrills" List!

Get yourself a beautiful journal, a special pen and start a "Thrills" List-- from shooting stars to simple pleasures. List every thrill you've EVER had (...or hope to!) The clearer we are about our desires and intentions for this life, the sooner we can take small steps that might just bring them closer. Update weekly and create a couple of new thrills!

Not Having Enough Fun? Take Time for "Recreation" At the end of the day, most find, "Attend to personal well-being" somewhere at the bottom of the list. Set aside times each week to "re-create." Do something utterly engaging that makes you feel real and alive and whole (and NOT "professional.") Take Tai Chi, Yoga or dance classes. Play bridge, listen to music...make some! Stumped? Ask friends what THEY do for fun.

Okay..I Know This One Sounds Goofy..but Try it!

1) Stand.
2) Look up at the ceiling.
3) Extend both arms behind you, inhale, lift and open your chest, arching your back (Gently!) as you keep looking up.
4) Breathe normally now. Did your mood lift? (This is the exact opposite of the typical round-shouldered slouch of sadness. Just a little oddity, but I have seen it work hundreds of times! Now if we could just stay that way...


Just outside my own front door, hangs this reminder: "Isn't it a comfort to know... some of the best days of your life haven't even happened yet?"

You are welcome to copy my greeting for your own home if you like. Until next month, I wish you many, many "best" days ...and above all, peace,

Susie Mantell's award-winning relaxation audio, "Your Present: A Half-Hour of Peace"("BEST AUDIOS"-Publishers Weekly), has been featured in The Los Angeles Times, NBC,ABC,CBS TV, Billboard, Cosmopolitan,, and used in The Mayo Clinic, VA hospital and the U.S. Army (Fort Leonard Wood), for anxiety, depression, sleeplessness; parenting, caregiving & workplace stress. Copyright ©2000 All rights reserved. For permission to reprint call 1-888-NOW-RELAX. Susie Mantell offers support as an adjunct to, but not a substitute for, professional health care.
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