“Emotional Fitness for Techies” — my presentation at SandCamp 2012

I had a wonderful opportunity to make a “peanut butter cup” (you know, two great tastes together…) at SandCamp, the annual San Diego Drupal User Group camp. This gave me a chance to mix my two  great passions, technology and personal development. There was a nice turnout, maybe fifteen people, with some spirited interaction and dialog. It felt great to discover that there were people interested in developing themselves or others, striving for improvement in communication and community. As always, I’m completely open to feedback, comments, and criticisms.

Audio-only recordings of my presentation

Since there wasn’t a lot of material in the slide deck of my presentation, I thought these downloadable audio-only files might be more convenient for some. SandCamp 2012 – Emotional Fitness for Techies pt1 SandCamp 2012 – Emotional Fitness for Techies pt2

I’m presenting at SandCamp 2012! “Emotional Fitness for Techies”

I’ve been given the opportunity to talk about one of my very favorite things, developing the emotional part of people that are inherently, sometimes overly, geeky and intellectual. While there absolutely nothing wrong with that, there’s so much more to being human and, in turn, experiencing and enjoying life, and the process is simple and not nearly as scary as some might think. Here are details: https://www.sandcamp.org/emotional-fitness-techies-algorithms-healthy-life I hope to arrange a recording, which I’ll post here and on the event page. #woot

When It Comes To Depression, Serotonin Isn’t The Whole Story

As NPR’s article clarifies today, the popular treatment of depression by addressing Seratonin deficiencies is an overly simplistic one, still to this day buoyed by the bright spot that a pharma treatment (Prozac) originally brought to a terribly discouraging ailment.

While there are numerous ways to address the effects of _clinical_ depression, it’s still an incredibly complex issue (along with all mental illness) with no _simple_ scientific remedy. That said, there are definitely effective therapies available; I’m living proof, and I know of numerous others.

Also, for many people dealing with addiction, such as alcoholism and narcotics, there are a very many cases where people in recovery are struggling against untreated mental illness. Without addressing the mental illness, recovery is a far more difficult process. These cases are referred to as “dual diagnosis”, and treating one and not the other is like having two broken legs, and insisting that only one needs healing.

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with _untreated_ mental illness, please, please, please, get a qualified evaluation and educate yourself as best you can.

Of course, if there’s some way you think I can help, please let me know.

Insatiable

An insatiable thirst […] will eventually lead to failure.” — Seth Godin

Hey, friends, sound familiar? That need to fill an emptiness isn’t just a human shortcoming, it shows up in business, too. This dynamic of “organizations suffering from an insatiable thirst” can be described by some as “driven by personality rather than principle”.

Longing and hunger can be slippery, and can be addressed with discernment. Having the drive and determination to pursue things can be very beneficial and productive, but where’s that urgency coming from; urgency doesn’t always come from the same needs or reasons. Knowing where it comes from for yourself is powerful.

Get help to figure this out if you’re not crystal clear within yourself. It’s absolutely possible, easier than you think, and necessary if you don’t want to be driven by unconscious and subconscious impulses.

Do you pay attention to emotional warning lights?

So, let’s say you’ve got something essential to your performing well; a car, a computer, a phone, some appliance or equipment… Remember, this is something you absolutely need to work well, otherwise you’re struggling, inefficient, losing time or money.

If a warning light comes on, how do you respond? Blow it off? Watch it for a while? Tap the warning light to see if it’s loose? Call the repair tech right away?

While it’s obviously a good idea to at least check to see how dire the trouble is, the more important thing is to recognize that the light is blinking. If you can’t see the warning light, or you see it and ignore it, you’re definitely putting yourself at risk.

Many of the warning lights I deal with are emotional. The problem is that while many people see the warning lights flashing, often for long periods of time, they don’t realize that they are indicating problems! They typically ignore the signs, often imagining them unimportant!

Warning signs of emotional issues come in countless shapes and sizes; we could barely scratch the surface of them in a blog post. All I hope to bring up for you is that there are symptoms that are very effective at indicating that something needs tending to.

It’s important to know that just because you might have an emotional issue to work through, that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you; emotions are an intrinsic part of being human, and people often receive inadequate education on how to handle challenging emotional situations.

If you have any concerns, get an educated opinion. Not tending to something that needs fixing can often lead to breakage and costly damage.

On a related note, a New York Times editorial pointed out the value of “Fix(ing) things early”, due to the finding that “the most widespread peril children face […] may be ‘toxic stress’ early in life, or even before birth.”

“[T]he most cost-effective window to bring about change isn’t high school or even kindergarten — although much greater efforts are needed in schools as well — but in the early years of life, or even before birth. […] As Frederick Douglass noted, ‘It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.'”

Here’s a great example of recognizing that the struggles that many people go through later in life are indications of trouble from very early on. Imagine how much pain could be avoided, and how much opportunity for growth and creativity would be made, if early indicators were tended to promptly.