Cover Story Good Advice Feature Video Hot Topics

 

 

 



Hot topic of the week


Hello everyone! What are some of your favorite things to do on Sabbath? I like to watch nature shows, listen to music, and read! :)

What do YOU think?


Click here join in the discussion.

Web Bonus


Miranda Writes: Itís All About Me . . . and Iím Miserable!




by Omar Miranda

A great solution for being bored, sad, or depressed

“Mr. Miranda, I’m so depressed!” Callie (not her real name) exclaimed in exasperation as she entered my office without even knocking and threw herself on my couch. I stopped working on the e-mail I was writing and went over to sit down beside her.

“Tell me about it,” I said.

Callie launched into a 10-minute tirade about who was talking about her, what they were saying, and how she felt about it all. She ended by whimpering, “Everybody’s always talking about me!”

My head was swimming! I was definitely interested in how Callie was saying what she was saying because she had a huge grin on her face that was so out of place for someone who was supposed to be so upset and “depressed.”
I asked her about the contradiction between her words and her facial expression. She answered a bit sheepishly, “Sorry, Mr. Miranda. I guess I got carried away and was being a little dramatic. I’m not really depressed. I’m just upset because it seems that lately every time I walk into a room, the other girls look my way and laugh!”

After we talked a bit, Callie realized that she might have been so focused on herself in her thoughts that she misinterpreted the girls’ laughter as directed against her when it really wasn’t. In other words, what was going on in the room wasn’t all about her.

Research shows that a lot of teens think that the world revolves around them. And that’s one reason many of them are depressed—not just upset like Callie was, but really depressed. As in not bathing, not eating, not sleeping (or sleeping too much), not going to school, not hanging out with friends, even feeling suicidal.

People who are hyperfocused on themselves can easily start feeling like everyone else is watching them or has an issue or a problem with them. But in reality, it’s frequently all in their own heads.

Now don’t get me wrong; I am in no way saying that a lot of teens are mental. They’re not! And as I already said, this focus on self is actually quite normal among teens.  Researchers call this phenomenon the “imaginary audience.” It’s basically the mistaken belief that everybody’s always watching you. A teen’s perception of the imaginary audience can be made even worse when depressed. Typically, when a teen is depressed, there’s a supernegative focus on themselves, their issues, and their problems. This makes it difficult for them to make even the simplest decisions; to have energy, focus, or motivation to do anything; or to see anything or anybody else outside of their own world. This is called “constricted thinking.”

How can a teen come out of it? Well, we already know that talk therapy (counseling) and certain types of antidepressant medication help. The following natural things also help combat depression: getting enough sunlight (20-30 minutes daily—the lighter the skin, the shorter the time); getting fresh air and cardiovascular exercise (again, 20-30 minutes); eating a healthy, balanced diet; and getting enough sleep (a minimum of nine hours a night).

In addition, recent research shows something extremely surprising: when people do unselfish acts and focus on others instead of just on themselves, they actually feel better. This one little thing—that’s not so little—can actually be one of the most powerful secrets to maintaining great mental health!

Why are there so many depressed teens these days? Based on what I’ve observed, it’s because so many are mainly focused on themselves—so much so that they’re miserable!

The apostle Paul actually has a lot to say about that in Philippians 2:1-7: “Christ encourages you, and his love comforts you. God’s Spirit unites you, and you are concerned for others. Now make me completely happy! Live in harmony by showing love for each other. Be united in what you think, as if you were only one person. Don’t be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves. Care about them as much as you care about yourselves and think the same way that Christ Jesus thought: Christ was truly God. But he did not try to remain equal with God. Instead he gave up everything and became a slave, when he became like one of us” (CEV).*

In other words, Jesus came not to be served, but to serve others (see Mark 10:45). And if we want to be like Jesus, we need to change our focus from ourselves to others. We need to treat others as more important than ourselves. Paul even says that we can think the same way Jesus thought! Did you catch that? (Read the passage again.)

Dr. Albert Schweitzer, a famous twentieth-century humanitarian, once said: “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.”
Are you bored, sad, depressed, too self-centered? Try thinking like Jesus; begin putting others at the center of your life and see what happens. I guarantee that you’ll begin to feel joy and peace spring up within you, and those negative feelings will start to fade away.

As you go through life, remember these principles: God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Put God first in your life and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omarmiranda@earthlink.net; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes, at www.insightmagazine.org; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site, thriveatlife.org; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor
Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 1-770-354-2912

*Scripture quotations identified CEV are from the Contemporary English Version. Copyright  American Bible Society 1991, 1995. Used by permission.

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column Miranda Writes.
 





Top | Home