Psychological Self-Help

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days to live? These ways of asking people about their ideals or dreams
can be consciousness-raising experiences. We need to believe there is
a connection between our activity today and our hoped for payoffs in
the future. 
How is it possible to get bored in a complex, intriguing world?
There are some theories: if you add positive and negative feelings
together, the result sometimes is "nothing"--an indifferent, blah
feeling. Examples: after living with a lover a long time, the positive
and negative emotions may combine to produce "no feelings" or a
"taken for granted" feeling. A rebellious person may combine the
pleasure of expressing anger with guilt and feel indifferent or "I don't
care." A student may like some parts of school and dislike others and
feel apathetic. In short, apathy may conceal intense and disturbing
feelings. Schaefer (1973) illustrates this further: a dying person
welcomed boredom because it made life seem longer. Another person,
although prudish, was persuaded to watch two friends having sex; her
reaction, "I was bored." Each feeling needs to be recognized and dealt
with, not denied or repressed. Most of the time, though, we're bored
because "there ain't nothin' to do," as we see it. 
Another interesting observation is that we become bored at
something: "the lecture is boring," "I'm bored with reading," "we are
bored with each other," "my work is boring," etc. One implication is
that "I'm not responsible for the boredom, I'm the victim." Another is
that "someone else is doing this to me," and things would be okay if I
could get away from them. This certainly hints at both anger and
Almost one quarter of Americans report being fatigued for longer
than two weeks. It is among the top 5 complaints to doctors. Stress
and burnout make us tired (and harm our health). Some people
respond to sudden challenges with extreme surges in blood pressure;
medicine can help. Most tired people need rest, sometimes with an
intimate other and sometimes completely alone. Comfortable
companions--friends, dog, cat, or therapist--are usually soothing. If
one can avoid hostile, demanding people, it will help. Likewise,
reading, exercising, watching TV, conversing, bathing, and doing
anything fun will lead to inner peace. If you can't merely walk away
from the stress, you can change your view of the situation: meditate,
realize "it ain't awful," "I can handle it," etc. 
One of the more debilitating disorders is chronic fatigue syndrome
because the lack of energy and tiredness can become overwhelming.
Half a million Americans feel seriously fatigued all the time. Sometimes
this fatigue is combined with some serious physical problem--arthritis,
colitis, multiple sclerosis--and must have medical attention.
Sometimes it seems to be more a psychological reaction which can be
helped with therapy or self-help. There are several good references for
chronic fatigue syndrome, including Friedberg (1995), Lark (1996),
and Berne (1995). 
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