“Depression Isn’t a Choice,” And Other Lies I Believed

Brooke Siem on the beach

During my decade and a half of deep depression, my mother often said to me, “Honey, you can choose not to be depressed.” To which I responded, seething, “Depression isn’t a choice. Why would I choose this? I can’t just turn it on and off.” And then I’d huff out of the room and stew…

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The 51% Theory, or, Factual Optimism

Brroke Siem on green-yellow bike

Healing Depression through Factual Optimism How do we find happiness when we are still depressed or in antidepressant withdrawal? We don’t. At least, we don’t aim for big changes. Instead, we go for getting it right 51% of the time. If we quantify happiness onto a scale that ranges from 0% happy to 100% happy,…

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The underdog of decision making: choosing to wait

In a day and age when information travels at warp speed and lives can be irrevocably changed by one photo or a single tweet, there was something poetic about the speed of the 2020 federal election. All the bandwidth and technology in the world couldn’t move it along any faster than it was going to…

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How to Use Breathwork to Relieve Stress & Anxiety

No fate is worse for those with anxiety than the act of doing nothing. But there is one tool you were born with that can help calm your mind and body when the weight of a situation becomes too much: your breath. I am an XPT certified breathwork coach. Often, with my clients going through…

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Medicating Normal Documentary

Happiness Is A Skill was created as an outlet for me to reach the kind of people who email me every day. Ever since my Washington Post Article, “I spent half my life on antidepressants. Today, I’m off the medication and feel all right” became the #1 read piece on WaPo National the day it…

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The easiest way to change your life? Just ask.

Happiness Is A Skill is 10 weeks old today! Such a wee milestone in the grand scheme of life, but in internet years, HIAS is entering its awkward teenage years. I’ve been at it just long enough to know it needs some tweaks, but not so long that I know what those tweaks are. And…

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What does it mean to be big?

My mother always told me that I was born to do something big. This idea sprouted just a few months after I was born, when my parents took me to an astrologist my father had been working with for years. According to the planets and the stars, the astrologer said, it would never be enough…

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Why I Quit Social Media to Save My Mental Health

The following was originally published in my newsletter, Happiness Is A Skill, Issue #01.  — The past few months have gifted us with an opportunity for deep reflection. While the world changes at a breakneck pace, we’ve all been stuck inside, left with nothing but the life we’ve created for ourselves and the emotions that…

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