Happiness & Depression


If you read through some of my blog posts you will know that my recent years have been filled with finding happiness. Slowly, and sometimes not so slowly, I am. I find incredible happiness from loved ones and nature, but like most people, I still struggle with it. As someone who has suffered with bouts of chronic depression, it’s easy for me to let myself slip into not being happy. Yet, learning to let go of some things and accepting other things, has been a key to bettering my mental health. This page is for all of those seeking to lead the happiest life possible. On here I will post resources I have found helpful along with my own thoughts.
Run Wild, Live Happy,

Check out my website: http://mindoverdepression.wordpress.com/ for more info on healing depression naturally.

Post 7: Mantra Madness: (Words to change your thinking)

Post 6: The Final Decision: (The step you must take to defeat depression)

Post 5: Helping a Loved One with Depression:

Post 4: One of the best quotes ever!

Post 3: The Number 40 and How It Can Help with Depression

Post 2:

Post 1: Love Doesn't Come in Perfect Packages, That Means I Qualify


5 Things Kids Know that Adults Need to Learn

                Today was my last day working at the Boys & Girls Club of Buena Vista. I was supposed to be done working there in August 2012 after my AmeriCorps/ Year of Service term was done, but I couldn’t. The kids became part of my life and I wasn’t ready to leave. I guess I’m still not ready to leave the kids, but I’m ready to leave the job to explore someplace new and most importantly be with someone I love. That’s for another post though. Today is a tribute to the kids at the Boys & Girls Club and 5 (out of many) things they taught me.

5 Things Kids Know That Adults Need to Learn:

·        If someone is behaving badly, they might just want your attention.
                Some of the worst behaviors I saw at the club were from kids who have parents who aren’t around much and/or don’t have the support they need. Thus, they want attention anyway they can get it, good or bad. Sometimes it’s actually harder to get attention for good behavior and unfortunately kids pick up on this.
                At first I thought this just applied to kids, but then I realized this is still true for many adults. It may be subconsciously, but I bet at one time or another all of us adults can admit to behaving in not the greatest manner to catch a person’s attention

·        You really don’t need much more than your imagination to have fun.
                Sometimes after school I’d take the kids to a field and would just tell them to have free time. They didn’t have any balls or toys to play with, yet they’d immediately run off and start a game or find something fun to do.
                I feel like if I did this with adults that I’d mostly get a bunch of people pulling out their phones. Can you see the problem in choosing a phone over a big grass field filled with opportunity?

·        Most of the reasons you get mad at someone are silly. Say sorry, shake hands, and then go play.
                One moment I’d see two kids crying because they hurt each other’s feelings, the next moment they’d be playing together. Kids have real feelings, just like adults, yet they don’t let their feelings ruin their fun for very long. They want to work things out so they can get to playing again.
                 Adults, how many times have we held onto a grudge over something silly? Is it really that hard to say sorry or forgive and then shake on it?

·        Be open with your feelings.
              If I saw a kid who looked upset all I’d have to do is ask what’s wrong to have the kid spill out exactly what they were upset about. There was no need to persuade them to tell me. They were more than happy to share. Normally, right after they’d tell me, they’d be back to being happy.
            I admit, as an adult, I’m completely guilty of doing the exact opposite. I hold my feelings in and sometimes won’t even tell a person what’s wrong even if they ask me. That’s just a recipe to make me feel bad longer than I need to. Even as adults, we normally feel better as soon as we tell someone our problems. We aren’t burdening someone! We want the people we love to tell us when something is wrong so why wouldn’t we tell someone we love when we have a problem?

·        Say what you want.
                Kids always asked me to go on unplanned hikes, give them extra time for an activity, give them extra food, etc. While they didn’t always get what wanted, a lot of times they did. Even if they got turned down sometimes, they would have never of gotten what they wanted if they had never asked.  Also, they didn’t “beat around the bush”, they just told me exactly what they wanted.
                Adults, please don’t be afraid to do this! I know I’ve been too afraid in the past to ask for what I wanted and it really ended up hurting me in the end. Far better to ask 10 people for what you want and have 1 person give it to you than to ask no one and get nothing.

The kids wanted to lift me up, they asked for it, they got it!

Now go and act like a kid!

“In America there are no other people’s children” –Bill Russell


Finding Meaning in Suffering

“We must never forget that we may also find meaning in life even when confronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that cannot be changed. For what then matters is to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a personal tragedy into a triumph, to turn one's predicament into a human achievement. When we are no longer able to change a situation - just think of an incurable disease such as inoperable cancer - we are challenged to change ourselves.”-Victor Frankl

Sometimes things happen in our lives that leave us crying on the floor for hours. We aren’t only sad; we are devastated and full of despair- the worst of all feelings. We can’t see any good of a situation. Maybe we just feel like our lives have no purpose or we just lost a loved one. Though I can’t give you a magic pill that makes everything better, I can offer you some information I have learned about logotherapy.

Logotherapy was created by Viktor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning. He is a Holocaust survivor who lost his wife and most of his family in the camps. He is also a neurologist, psychiatrist, and an amazing human being.

The basic principles of logotherapy:

·       -  Despite even the most miserable circumstances, life has meaning.
·         -The main motivation to live is to find meaning in life
·       -  It us up to us to use our mind’s freedom to find meaning in what we do and what we experience, or at least how we deal with suffering that is unchangeable.

If you have experienced despair or a tragedy, it might be hard to take in any of the above principles right away. However, if you are open to them, I do believe that after some time you can find meaning to life again. There are many examples of how people have found meaning in tragedy’s that at first seem meaningless. For instance, the beautiful (inside and out) Rachel Scott was killed in the mass shooting at Columbine High School. Her dad and step-mom were both devastated (there’s not much worse than losing a child), but they created a student empowerment program called Rachel’s Challenge. “Rachel's Challenge is a series of student empowering programs and strategies that equip students and adults to combat bullying and allay feelings of isolation and despair by creating a culture of kindness and compassion

A less tragic example would be me. No, I didn't suffer a huge tragedy, but at one point in my life I was filled with complete despair. Despair means to lose all hope. For moments, I did. I won’t go into why or what I did, but I will tell you I now appreciate and love who I am because of those past moments. I’m a more caring, compassionate, and kind human being because of it. It helps me to understand where other people are coming from, and sometimes even allows me to help them. I now find meaning in my life for those reasons.

Additionally, I’d like to dedicate this post to my Aunt Barb and Uncle Ronnie who both passed away from cancer. Even when dealing with the worst of cancer, they were two of the most loving, caring, and seriously funny people I knew. They made me believe that the people subjected to tragedies or unfortunate events are the people strong enough to find meaning in the situation. Now, every time I face some misfortune, I remind myself that “God”/ the universe won’t give me a situation that I can’t handle.

Hopefully, I have not upset anyone by my words. My only intentions are to help. As I was writing this I kept thinking about the women being tortured in other countries and almost stopped writing. Then I remembered women like Mukhtar Mai who get raped and then start things like this: http://www.mukhtarmai.org/ .

 Even in your darkest of days, your life has meaning.

Send a Little Love

A simple way to make someone else’s day (and your day) a little better…

Over 10 years ago now, I read the book Stargirl.

Here is a brief summary of the main character (mainly because I like the quote):

“She laughed when there was no joke. She danced when there was no music. 
She had no friends, yet she was the friendliest person in school.
In her answers in class, she often spoke of sea horses and stars, but she did not know what a football was...
She was elusive. She was today. She was tomorrow. She was the faintest scent of a cactus flower, the flitting shadow of an elf owl. We did not know what to make of her. In our minds we tried to pin her to a corkboard like a butterfly, but the pin merely went through and away she flew.” 
Jerry Spinelli, Stargirl

In the book Stargirl would leave little surprises for people, mostly for people who had no clue she even existed. I loved that she did this and I found myself admiring this character and wanting to be more like her for this and many other reasons. Now that I’m older I realize she was meant to represent a little bit of how people could and should be.

Now, I’m not saying to start sending things to random people, but why not send a little card to someone you care about every now and then (I’m not talking about Christmas cards)?

Emails DO NOT count! You get emails every day. An email just can’t brighten a person’s day like a card or letter can.

Let’s put some real thought into this. How much do you or would you enjoy a little surprise letter in the mail from someone you care about? Isn't it nice to know that someone took a few minutes of their day to send you their love, to let you know you’re cared for and thought about? How much would you enjoy knowing that you made someone’s day better by sending them a card to let them know you care?

Ever since I moved from Ohio I have been sending postcards and letters back home. From some people I don’t get a reply, but that’s okay, I’m just glad they know I’m thinking about them. However, I know I can expect something in my mail box at least a couple times a month from Rachel or my dad. It’s interesting how it works out, but their letters almost always come on the days I need it most. I love getting their letters. I appreciate every single one. My dad sometimes sends me super cute and funny cards that remind me he’s thinking about me. From Rachel, I have a collection of awesome postcards from my home trails in Cuyahoga Valley National Park that remind me of where my love for trail running began. I am saving all of them to eventually make a collage out of.

I know everyone is stretched for time, but most people would be thrilled to open up an envelope with a little piece of paper inside saying they are loved and being thought about. That doesn't take much time at all. If you have a little more extra time, add a little more to it. I have a great little book of tear-out Dr. Seuss quotes. I’ll look through the quotes and pick out one that will fit the person I’m sending the letter to. Again, it’s really easy!

Who in your life could you send a little love to? It could even be to someone who lives a few minutes away from you or someone who lives in the same house like a spouse or child. All it takes is a couple of minutes to help make someone else’s day a little better along with yours.
Top 10 Reasons to Smile

From Mark Stibich, Ph.D., former About.com Guide
1. Smiling Makes Us Attractive
We are drawn to people who smile. There is an attraction factor. We want to know a smiling person and figure out what is so good. Frowns, scowls and grimaces all push people away -- but a smile draws them in.
(Sandi’s side note: I found this out at Lake Tahoe:
The whole week I didn’t put on an ounce of makeup, I cleaned up by jumping in a lake, and I probably never felt prettier. Little by little I could feel myself becoming a little bit happier this whole trip and it must have showed because I have never got hit on so much in my life. At first I was a little annoyed, but then I was just a little bit flattered. I guess it goes to show that a smile is a person’s best asset and that even if you’re by yourself you should still smile.”

2. Smiling Changes Our Mood
Next time you are feeling down, try putting on a smile. There's a good chance you mood will change for the better. Smiling can trick the body into helping you change your mood.
3. Smiling Is Contagious
When someone is smiling they lighten up the room, change the moods of others, and make things happier. A smiling person brings happiness with them. Smile lots and you will draw people to you.
4. Smiling Relieves Stress
Stress can really show up in our faces. Smiling helps to prevent us from looking tired, worn down, and overwhelmed. When you are stressed, take time to put on a smile. The stress should be reduced and you'll be better able to take action.
5. Smiling Boosts Your Immune System
Smiling helps the immune system to work better. When you smile, immune function improves possibly because you are more relaxed. Prevent the flu and colds by smiling.
6. Smiling Lowers Your Blood Pressure
When you smile, there is a measurable reduction in your blood pressure. Give it a try if you have a blood pressure monitor at home. Sit for a few minutes, take a reading. Then smile for a minute and take another reading while still smiling. Do you notice a difference?
7. Smiling Releases Endorphins, Natural Pain Killers and Serotonin
Studies have shown that smiling releases endorphins, natural pain killers, and serotonin. Together these three make us feel good. Smiling is a natural drug.
8. Smiling Lifts the Face and Makes You Look Younger
The muscles we use to smile lift the face, making a person appear younger. Don't go for a face lift, just try smiling your way through the day -- you'll look younger and feel better.
9. Smiling Makes You Seem Successful
Smiling people appear more confident, are more likely to be promoted, and more likely to be approached. Put on a smile at meetings and appointments and people will react to you differently.
10. Smiling Helps You Stay Positive
Try this test: Smile. Now try to think of something negative without losing the smile. It's hard. When we smile our body is sending the rest of us a message that "Life is Good!" Stay away from depression, stress and worry by smiling.


  1. Hi Sandi, I loved this section!, I was reading up on a few of your posts just now and had a quick question. I was hoping that you could email me back when you have a moment. Thanks!

    - Cameron

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.


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