Feeling Great! Newsletter

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Success: Work For It

Whether you're working your way up the corporate ladder, trying to overcome depression or hoping to increase your parenting skills the research is clear... work for it, it'll feel better to you if you do!

We live in cultures of quick-fixes and immediate gratification. It's good to know that our brains still know the truth about true success, at least that's what a recent study shows.

In a study completed recently by Dr. Gregory S. Berns of Emory University he says, "Being actively engaged in the pursuit of rewards is a highly important function for the brain, much more so than receiving the same rewards passively."

He discovered that we are much more excited by rewards we actively work for than by rewards we acquire passively.

The moral to the study? There are no shortcuts to success and happiness. The study was conducted using brain imaging techniques on two groups of volunteers. Each group played a different version of a computer game. In one group, they obtained money for no particular reason as they proceeded through the game. In the other group they had to actively pursue and accomplish certain tasks in order to earn the money. 

Simply obtaining money did stimulate some of the pleasure centers of the brain, but the group that had to work to earn the money tapped all the pleasure centers in the brain.

I had to work my way through college. I went to a small, very expensive liberal arts college. I admit, I felt sorry for myself at times as I observed other students who didn't have to work in order to pay for their schooling. Within a couple of years after graduation though I began to realize how much I valued what I had worked so hard for. It meant much more to me than had my education simply been given to me. In fact, I had the opportunity to work in my chosen helping profession even before I achieved my diploma - Double Rewards!

Taking action towards your goals really makes your brain light up like the fourth of July. Do something for yourself, take the appropriate steps towards success - it'll feel much better if you do!


Dave Turo-Shields (email)
Veteran Psychotherapist, Trainer & Life Coach

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"To follow without halt, one aim; there is the secret of success. And success? What is it? I do not find it in the applause of the theater; it lies rather in the satisfaction of accomplishment."

Anna Pavlova

Ask Dave


How do I stop my depression medicine?


Hi Jessy,

Thanks for asking the question.  So many times folks "play doctor" with their medicines, in place of co-creating experiments to see whether or not they need their medicine any longer.  Sometimes this problem lies with a doctor who's not interested in working with you and more interested in you blindly listening to what they say.

First, and very importantly, please consult a doctor to come off (titrate down) psychiatric medication.  The withdrawal symptoms from most antidepressants are fairly intense.  Don't set yourself up to suffer.

Next, make a list of  relapse triggers that may occur if you slip back into depression once off your medication.  This can help in not allowing the depression to go on too long before you take action.  Finally, consider a few natural supplements to aid in your ongoing recovery after medication.  Consider L-tryptophan, B-Complex and and Omega-3 oil for starters.


Dave Turo-Shields

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