Stressed? Depressed? – Be Happy!

Bombarded daily with news of wars, poverty, violence, corruption, financial crisis’ and climate disasters it’s no wonder we can feel depression setting in. But maybe there’s another way of looking at all this news…?

The world is going through big changes, on many different levels, and humanity is being challenged on how to respond. For the individual this can be overwhelming; mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, on all four levels of our existence. How do we deal with it? First stress, and then depression leads to us withdrawing from these outer impressions, and sometimes even ourselves. It’s a natural reaction to allow time for reflection, and create a safe space for this process to evolve, naturally. But do we allow this natural response to happen?

Often, we think something is “wrong” with us, so we go to the doctor, who prescribes a drug, an antidepressant, which suppresses the symptoms and gives us the false impression that everything is all right, and we can get right back to work and the stress of our society, back to all the bombarding of bad news, now suppressed with drugs which keep us in a artificial cocoon of comfort, and drowsiness. Eventually this wears off and the body, and our feelings, and our spirit can’t take it any more, so we go back to the doctor and ask for more drugs, or more powerful drugs. I won’t go into all the things this is affecting on a mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual level; sickness, disease, etc., suffice to say it can make a real mess of a Life, with innumerable spin-off effects which become difficult if not impossible to trace back to to original, natural, healthy, signal from the body when the initial depression set in.

Let’s look at an example:

Joe is a successful executive in a large international company, living in London. He makes a good salary but living expenses are high in London and he wants to start a family so he lives a little bit outside of the city. He commutes daily 90 minutes each way on the train. Joe thinks this is good because it gives him time to read the newspapers, and sometimes a good book – even if the latter doesn’t happen very often. At work, the poor economy and financial crisis has forced the company to reduce it’s work force, so many of his friends have been “let go” while at the same time, competition is making those left having to work overtime, often without pay, which Joe gladly does because of course he wants to show the people upstairs that HE is one of the people that the company REALLY needs to keep, when the next round of work force reductions takes place. He’s just bought a house with his wife and they need two paying jobs to manage the mortgage, so he can’t even think of losing his job – or his wife losing hers!

All the while, he’s reading, and watching, the news about the war in Iraq, the Taliban in Afghanistan, the IS in Syria and Iraq, Russia in the Ukraine, glaciers melting on both poles, species extinction reaching record levels, social unrest, poverty, droughts, flooding,  the risk of sea level rise which will put his newly purchased home ten feet under water twenty years before he’s paid off the mortgage.

He can’t fight, and he can’t flee, what does he do? Initially he probably goes into denial, and/or begins to build up delusions. When that doesn’t work anymore, because even the mainstream media starts talking about what’s going on, and he can’t deny the effects of this on his life anymore, then he gets stressed, and then chronically depressed, of course! And that’s if he’s one of the lucky ones! Because that means he’s still healthy! His body is (still) talking to him!

One evening, on the way home from work, sitting on the train, someone spills hot coffee on him and he screams out in pain, but regains composure, because he’s a well educated person. When he gets home, tired, burn sores under his shirt, stressed from a long day at the office, his wife, who on this day is also stressed, tired, and frustrated from an incident at work, is sitting in the living room, waiting for Joe…

How does the story continue? How does the story end? Do they hug and embrace? Do they argue and divorce? Do they just ignore their feelings and go to work the next day? You decide! It’s all about choices. It’s this choice and the countless other choices made during the day that create their future, my future, our collective future, and these collective choices are behind the results that nobody wants. The resulting climate crisis, financial crisis, and social crisis.

What are the choices? The above example has created an opportunity to Stop, Reflect, and Listen… Listen and Observe… What is going on? What are the signals that we all are receiving but not always hearing, or seeing? Our “receiver” seems to be turned off – is it the drugs? Is it the news? Is there any difference? Nothing wrong with the transmitter, Life. Life is out there happening all the time, while we are “collectively creating the results nobody wants”, as Otto Scharmer from MIT says in his latest book “Leading from the Emerging Future”.

So how do we tune the receiver to a more clear channel? That is the question.

First, Stop, Reflect, and Listen… Listen and Observe. If you don’t do that consciously, by  choice, life has a habit of helping you out. Sometimes you find yourself in bed with a cold, other times you find yourself in a hospital bed after a heart attack, or accident… So, BE HAPPY! Sometimes you don’t find yourself anywhere at all, which means that the game is over, come back another life.

So if you’re lucky enough to get this opportunity to Stop, Reflect and Listen… Listen and Observe, then BE HAPPY!

What you do then is up to you, you have opportunity to find out what you need to know, and do what you need to do.

And that’s when the REAL fun can begin, because then all these wonderful opportunities open up and magical, mysterious things begin to happen.

I’m sure many of you out there are already having fun. Tell me about it, I would love to hear your stories!

Thanks for stopping by, and listening…



About christersoderberg

Living and growing up in nine countries has left strong impressions on the background of Christer Söderberg, helping to create an awareness of the impermanence in life and the uncertain value of knowledge; illustrating the paradox between knowing and what we may do well to “unlearn”. Christer has worked with companies in six countries on four continents, most recently in Brazil where between 1998 and 2002 he started a subsidiary for a Swedish Multinational. Studies in business and a lifetime of social entrepreneurship have further cemented his belief that the only thing we can change is ourselves. This lifelong endeavor expresses itself in creating the conditions for change through places, physical and virtual spaces where the individual can feel safe in him/herself; at least enough to stop, reflect and listen to the world we live in. We exist in our relationship to each other, our environment, and ourselves. Through observation and silence, preferably in close communion with nature, a “zero perspective” can help stimulate the questions surrounding our purpose and a meaningful contribution while on earth. Increased awareness of individual potential plants seeds for long-term success; Open World initiatives help awaken the hidden potential in individuals, creating new perspectives on cooperation and personal development. Increased focus and balance help provide a strong base for individual and business growth, with a deeply ingrained sense of responsibility, respect and awe for the power in nature.
This entry was posted in All, Awareness, Leadership, Resilient Humanity, Stop, Reflect & Listen . . ., Sustainability, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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