Thursday, September 14, 2006

What do you do for fun?

bike riding skiing photography reading cooking sewing

gardening driving shopping computing dancing football

tennis sex walking boating decorating writing painting gaming

raising animals astronomy rock climbing traveling music watching

TV singing acting building fishing bowling horseback riding

talking swimming hiking motorcycling studying surfing

designing playing chess golf softball jogging drawing

eating flying night clubs playing with pets collecting . . .

Which ones? How often?

A person who doesn't have a balanced life, for example, work, recreation, and other activities, may gradually come to experience what is often called ordinary or garden variety depression. Significantly reduced or increased appetite or sleep, listlessness, a lack of energy or interest in life, sadness, blunted or constricted emotions, a general slowing in responsiveness and activity, trouble doing routine household tasks, and so on are characteristics. High drive college students, professionals, and others who devote nearly all their energies to achievement and accomplishment may gradually come to experience ordinary or garden variety depression.

Persons with a history of gender dysphoria also often report depression, or sometimes, even more serious forms of a deeper depression. That state typically leads to a reduction in the quality of life and problems functioning. Regularly engaging in recreational or fun oriented activities, especially those that involve some vigorous movement for an extending period of time, say, 45 minutes or so per day, or at least several times per week, may contribute to a reduction in some forms of depression. When this approach is indicated, a person shouldn't expect results immediately; it may take a few weeks or more to show positive results.

In other words, doing fun activities may contribute to a sense of well being and can help a person construct a life that works, a life that provides a sense of quality, peace and happiness. I must add, however, some depression is the result of events other than restricted lives; such things as lack of work, relationship problems, physical illness, or perhaps the loss of a loved one. There also are biologically based forms of depression involving a chemical imbalance in one's brain that in most cases is probably inherited. These types of depression are often deeper, recurrent and may only yield to more aggressive forms of treatment such as psychotherapy, often combined with antidepressant medication, prescribed by a physician, typically a psychiatrist.

In general, depression is probably the most common form of emotional distress people experience. It's something we all experience from time to time. However, it's treatable. But it's important to remember, for some forms of depression, professional help is essential.

What do you do for fun?

a touch of spring in berkeley

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