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How to Become an Effective Self-Help User

"Know Yourself" That's what the big guy said way back when? Was it Aristotle, Plato or Socrates? Anyhow, that's the essence of what this article is about.

You are a "self-help" seeker and user. You want resources to advance yourself in your life, to feel better, stronger and more successful. You're not satisfied with how things are. And you're not complacent about it. You're motivated. Therefore, you've come to the right place.

We're going to take you through this guide to instruct you on a few matters that relate directly to your goal of having the best self-help resources at your disposal. No more trial and error. This is it. We're going to get focussed.

OK, be sure you've read our article on "Assessing Your Self-Help Needs," (also available here at Ezine Articles) especially the part that distinguishes between "categories of distress" and "categories of achievement." These are arbitrary definitions. We use them to help our readers differentiate between "goals to be achieved" vs "problems to be solved. This ensures that we are all on the same page.

Let's identify a few symptom problems under categories of distress. We start with the big ones and work our way down.

Top of the list in Problems to be Solved (categories of distress) is Anxiety. Always your number 1 source of pain and stress. Anxiety permeates everything, affects your sleep, how you feel about yourself and your circumstances in the World.

- Do you have Confidence?

- Do you feel Effective?

- Are you feeling Lost or Unsure of Yourself?

These questions take us back to anxiety, the root symptom underlying all of our Stress.

You see, if we have anxiety as a problem, then Stress Managememt is a possible solution. We see that Stress is experienced as Anxiety first. It becomes Stress after occupying space within us for any length of time. That is, it is something we experience and live with everyday, and it now colors our way of viewing the world.


Another big one, in the disabling symptom category is Depression. This is the second most common symptom in the whole arsenal of disabling categories. It's amazing how many people are depressed today. Well, walk into any bookstore and count how many books are devoted to Depression.

When I travel and wander through Airport bookstores I see more books on Depression and Anti-Depressant Medication than any other subject. And this is supposed to be the Age of Super Abundance!

Why is Depression so common? And why is it so difficult to overcome? Well, the stress of "acquiring more" and "making it" is behind this. Yes, some stress is necessary, even desired, to bring out our best performance in work or other activities.

But being overwhelmed by Stress is all too common today. Therefore, Anxiety and Depression walk hand in hand with those of us geared to the SuperAbundant lifestyle. Depression is the most commonly diagnosed "mental condition" today. And where there's Depression, there's Anxiety. The pharmaceutical industry makes a Fortune off these two categories alone.

Yes, Depression and Anxiety are interlinked. They are part of each other and show up whenever "Stress" is the assessed root problem.

We can now see why Stress, under categories of distress, as also so prevalent in the language and experience of our current culture. Stress dominates our Era.

From the pressure to succeed and to raise our kids perfectly, to the global effect of "The War on Terrorism" we are all subject to Stress. Some would argue that our government leaders like it that way. We are easier to control and motivate toward a particular end. But I digress. "What would the USA bewithout a "War to fight?"


We are learning now that Categories of Distress are Global. Anxiety, Depression and Stress occupy our minds and thoughts daily. They are a top priority in our consciousness and underly all our Major Illnesses, including Cancer.

Getting happy is about getting Healthy in the plural sense of all parts of our lives.

Anxiety - Stress - Depressive States - Universal Tragedies!

What else can we feel when 200 Spaniards are killed by terrorist bombs on their way to work one morning? When everyday, another U.S. soldier or two are killed while involved in some action around the World.

Every day there is Stress - Kids, Jobs, Debt, Bad News, and so on... There's plenty of stress to go around.

Back to Our Topic . . .

Categories of Distress

Anxiety, Depression, Stress - The Top Three! All other symptom categories derive from these 3.

Where can you find Relief?

"The Self-Help Advisor" Website, among others, has lists of great resources for the above-mentioned categories. There are also Coach resources on the net, books of course, and many other sources of help. Your community likely provides every kind of resource available. Assess yourself first. Do a thorough review of your strengths and weaknesses, browse our Links Page at The Self-Help Advisor to find resources and solutions to these problems.

And READ! The more you know, the better off you are. Ultimately you have to be responsible for your life. What you learn can't hurt you, and likely will help.

Maurice Turmel has a PHD in Counseling Psychology and was a practicing therapist for nearly 25 years. Self-Help issues are dealt with regularly in his monthly Ezine "The Self-Help Advisor." Dr. Turmel likes to use parable stories to illustrate important points. He has authored 3 books and is also a performing songwriter. He can be reached through his Website at:


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