Talking about Depression by Cindy Stulberg and Ronald Frey ~ An Excerpt from Feeling Better

For years, the first line of defense for depression has been pharmaceuticals, but in their new book Feeling Better: Beat Depression and Improve Your Relationships with Interpersonal Psychotherapy (New World Library, November 20, 2018), psychologists and authors Cindy Goodman Stulberg and Ronald J. Frey, PhD, say that it is actually our relationships that offer the most effective path to healing.

Knowing that depression is an illness as legitimate as any physical ailment, Feeling Better helps readers get clarity around the four main areas in life that can be contributing factors to why people feel sad, blue, down, and depressed: life transitions, complicated grief, interpersonal conflict, or social isolation. We hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt from the book.

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If you’ve been keeping your depression to yourself, it’s time to share the burden with someone else. If we let others know about our temporary limitations, we’re more likely to receive support for our efforts and new ideas for how to cope. Opening up also gives others the opportunity to share their struggles with us — experiences we may never have known they had. Suddenly, we don’t feel so alone anymore.

It’s normal to feel shy, scared, embarrassed, and anxious about telling people. Many of us — me included — have our feelings of self-worth tied up with being seen as one of those people who have their act together. (It’s common among people in helping professions. We help others, but we don’t always have the skills to help ourselves.) If you’re used to being the capable one, it can feel uncomfortable to admit to others that you’re struggling. Plus, if you haven’t reached out for help before, you don’t know it’s possible for someone to offer you support and show they care.

The first step is to acknowledge that being strong isn’t always a strength. The next is to imagine a different future, one where there’s a little more give-and-take in your relationships. Many people will want to help you as much as you want to help them. Let them in.

Don’t feel you have to tell everyone about your depression. Start with one or two people who are affected by your illness or who you think will be understanding.

It’s usually helpful to share the symptoms of depression with the person you’re confiding in. That way you both have the same understanding of the many physical and emotional impacts of the illness and can speak a common language. Let the person know that you’re working hard to feel better. Explain that you need to take a break from some of the things you usually do to give yourself the time and energy to make positive changes. Reassure them that the situation is temporary. Listen to their concerns, and be open to their suggestions.

Some people will really understand. Some may offer to help. (Don’t refuse the casserole.) Some might not get it; you can sense they’re trying, but they’re struggling to empathize. If that person is close to you or you need their help with some of your responsibilities, try sharing this chapter of the book with them. Of course, you won’t want to assign reading homework to a person who isn’t a reader. Instead, show them the book and talk them through the important information, as in a highlight reel or postgame recap. They’ll get the point that your information comes from a credible source — the book — but they won’t have to read it themselves.

Unfortunately, some people might not be supportive at all. You can’t change that. But at least you’ll know who you can turn to the next time you need advice or assistance. Try not to blame those who don’t understand. They may show their support through actions, not words, by doing things like fixing the car or spending more time with the kids.

Many people who have depression stop socializing, and their isolation may be compounded by other circumstances, for example, a move to a new city, the arrival of a new baby, a spouse who travels a lot, or the lack of a strong support system. John, for example, never felt he had kind, caring friends or family. Admitting to himself that he was depressed has been hard enough, because it feels like one more way he’s failed. How is he supposed to share that with the very people who are responsible for his feelings of inadequacy?

If, like John, you feel there’s no one you can talk to about your depression, we encourage you to open up to one person anyway. John swallows his pride and tells his brother (the most supportive of his unsupportive siblings) about how he’s feeling. First, he explains the symptoms. Then he says that he’s working on getting better. His brother expected John to say the things he’s said so many times before: “I’d feel better if I had a girlfriend,” “The problem is my job,” “I just need more money,” “If I’d stayed in school, this wouldn’t be happening,” “It’s because I’m living with Mom and Dad.” When John’s brother doesn’t hear John singing the same old tune, he’s pleasantly surprised. He praises John for making an effort — a first in their relationship.

Often our words are received poorly not because of what we want to say, but because of how we say it. It takes a little self-reflection to recognize the patterns in the way we communicate with the people in our lives, but it’s worth taking a look. John’s go-to style has been to make excuses and blame others. You may find, like John, that making a change in the way you communicate helps you feel you have someone to talk to. It’s not something you can accomplish overnight, but now’s as good a time as any to start — and we’ll continue working on this together over the weeks ahead.

You may feel there’s no one you can talk to about your depression because, in your family and community, talk of mental illness is shameful and therefore off-limits. You may worry that if it gets out that you’re depressed, it could affect your future. Rest assured, there will be someone you can talk to. That person may be outside your immediate family or cultural community. They may be more of an acquaintance than a friend, or they may be a professional.

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Cindy Goodman Stulberg, DCS, CPsych, and Ronald J. Frey, PhD, CPsych, are the authors of Feeling Better and directors of the Institute for Interpersonal Psychotherapy. Visit them online at

Excerpted from the book Feeling Better. Copyright ©2018 by Cindy Goodman Stulberg and Ronald J. Frey. Printed with permission from New World Library —

The Jewel of Abundance by Ellen Grace O'Brian ~ Book Excerpt

A Grateful Generous Heart 

An excerpt from The Jewel of Abundance by Ellen Grace O’Brian 

Although millions of Westerners practice yoga simply for its health benefits, the philosophy and wisdom behind the multifaceted discipline have far more to offer. In The Jewel of Abundance: Finding Prosperity through the Ancient Wisdom of Yoga, award-winning author and Kriya Yoga teacher Ellen Grace O’Brian reveals an overlooked aspect of yoga: its powerful teachings on prosperity. She draws upon the ancient Vedic tradition of yoga philosophy and practice and shows how spirituality and earthly success can complement each other, leading to realization of the higher Self. O’Brian presents a clear explanation of both the philosophy of yoga and the nuts and bolts of practice, such as setting up a daily meditation routine, incorporating mantras, discerning how to cooperate with universal principles for complete well-being, and cultivating mindfulness in action. We hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt from the book. 

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A grateful heart is a magnet that draws to us what is harmonious and good. This idea is reflected in a playful metaphysical adage: not, “We see things as they are,” but, “We see things as we are.” In other words, our state of mind and consciousness color our perception and determine how we see and experience things. Taken a step further, this dynamic explains how we also then draw to us what corresponds with our consciousness. When our hearts are grateful, when we approach others and life itself with gratitude for all that is given, we generally reap more of the same. The opposite is true as well. When we’re down and depressed and can’t see much good anywhere — that experience will tend to compound itself. 

Life in the manifest realm is mixed — light and dark, hot and cold, day and night, up and down, fast and slow, and so on it goes. But beyond all duality and changing phenomena is the unchanging Absolute Reality that we can know as good, as whole and completely supportive of its divine purpose. Isn’t it better for us to call forth the good in every situation? To call it forth in every moment? We can do this through training our mind to extract what is good, what is praiseworthy or useful, and gratitude is one way to do that. Simply look deeply into any relationship, or any situation, and ask what there is to be grateful for. There is always something. When we find it, and call it forth, our heart opens and we become more receptive to the presence of divine grace at hand. 

Which comes first, gratitude or grace? They seem to arise together. Gratitude is our natural response to the gift of grace, and gratitude itself opens us to the awareness of ever-present divine support. When we work hard toward something and accomplish it, or desire something and attain it, we generally feel good, and along with that we feel some relief — a kind of “job well done!” out-breath. A very different feeling arises when we become aware of the powerful presence of divine grace that has allowed us to experience more than we ever could have without divine support. On those occasions, we feel something else. We feel awe. We are amazed, inspired, and yes, grateful. 

The distinction between relief and awe is a good indicator. It gives us a glimpse into how expansive our life is, how awesome it is or can be. 

Gratitude Practice 

Gratitude stretches us to be bigger, to expand our consciousness, to open our hearts and our minds more fully. When we begin the practice of cultivating gratitude, we often notice that it’s generally easier to feel grateful for what we like, for what we want or find pleasant. It’s more difficult to experience gratitude when what comes our way is unwanted. 

I once worked with a woman who had an amazing gratitude practice. It was so pervasive that it was contagious. I found myself feeling grateful for her because her grateful attitude made our encounters so pleasant. Her responses frequently surprised me and helped me to expand my perspective. This was her practice: Whatever I offered her, she responded with a genuine “Thank you!” Her response was always the same. If I offered her my praise and gratitude for something she did well, she would thank me. If I let her know that she had made a mistake or that something was not done well or right, her response was still “Thank you!” This was the key that made this practice so effective. She was truly grateful, her words accompanied by a genuine smile. She never gave one of those “thank you” nods accompanied by a smirk. How did she do that? I never asked her, but my guess is that she was a natural at cultivating spiritual awakening through selfless service. She did what she did as an offering, as her way of worship. She was grateful when it went well, and she was grateful when it did not because that gave her an opportunity to learn. 

Being able to say “thank you” to what comes, both pleasant and unpleasant, is unconditional gratitude. “Thank you” can be said aloud when appropriate, or silently as a prayer, but let’s say it! We can practice offering gratitude for something or someone that has pleased us and for something or someone that has not. The first is easy. The second, not so easy. It becomes easier as we hold that whatever comes into our life and experience always brings an opportunity for us. What will we do with that opportunity? When we meet it with gratitude, our potential to prosper and grow in love is multiplied. 

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Ellen Grace O’Brian is the author of The Jewel of Abundance and director of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment in San Jose, CA. Ellen is a yogacharya (an esteemed yoga teacher), a radio host, and an award-winning poet who weaves poetry into her teachings on spiritual matters, pointing to the mystical experience beyond words and thought. Ordained by a direct disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda, she has been teaching Kriya Yoga philosophy and practice nationally and internationally for over three decades. Visit her online at

Excerpted from the book The Jewel of Abundance: Finding Prosperity through the Ancient Wisdom of Yoga. Copyright ©2018 by Ellen Grace O’Brian. Printed with permission from New World Library —

Grace in Mombasa by T N Traynor - Book Review

Book Description:
Inspired by true events. Betrayal and loss, romance and heartbreak, and one woman’s journey in faith.
From the day she was born, Grace Clifton has navigated a life of loss and heartbreak, without a mother to guide her and through the ravages of two World Wars. With England in the midst of a Second World War, Grace experiences the excitement of love and romance, but all too soon, it turns to heartbreak. Through it all, Grace is sustained by her unwavering faith in God, but when all she holds dear is ripped away from her, Grace is left devastated and doubting everything she’s ever believed in.
As the world slowly recovers from war, Grace too begins the process of healing from the deep wounds inflicted by life. However, her steadfastness to God is lost and she determines never to pray again. When an unexpected opportunity comes up in Kenya, Grace seizes the chance to escape the memories, hoping to find a purpose and build a new life for herself. In the city of Mombasa, Grace soon begins to realise she can’t ever distance herself from life’s complications, but if she’s prepared to open her heart, maybe her fragmented faith will blossom once more bringing her the hope, love and the healing that she desperately needs.
Grace in Mombasa is a story about a woman whose amazing faith is shattered when her life falls apart, but will God simply let her go? If you like heartfelt dialogue, stories seeped in fact and history, and memorable characters, then you’ll love Tracy Traynor’s moving and inspirational novel.

Where to Purchase:

Australia: Australia Link
Brazil: Brazil Link
Canada: Canada Link
France: France Link
Germany: Germany Link
Italy: Italy Link
India: India Link
Japan: Japan Link
Netherlands: Netherlands Link
Mexico: Mexico Link
Spain: Spain Link
UK: UK Link

Connect with the Author:
Twitter: Twitter Link
Author Website: Author Website Link

Author Bio:
I have read lots of fantasy books, and many have been fab, but many more have been hard to read, making that escapism a bit too hard.  My story, therefore, is not full of complicated plots, and names you can’t pronounce, nor is it worded for the highly intelligent.  One of my favorite comments to date, from Rhianne Statom who has read my book, is that “Oracle’s Quest is like Lord of the Rings but for those of us who don’t have degrees in Middle Earth”!!
My dream is for people to be able to pick up my book and to get lost in the story.  I escaped my circumstances so many times by being lost in a good story and this is my driving wish for others, that they may get caught up in the people and places of Talia, and for just awhile, leave their own world behind them.

Book Review by Carmen:
There were aspects that moved a little bit fast for me, were skipped, or that I would have liked to have known more about. The first part of the story is about Grace Clifton's life in England; and I feel that this could have been condensed quite a bit if it had been done correctly. 
The second part is about her time in Mombasa - and for me - this was the interesting section; though I would have really liked to have known a little bit more; since I thought that the story in this section was really intriguing. I ended up giving this book a four star rating and got a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

*Please be sure to support the author by buying their books and connecting with them on social media.

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