People Who Have A Critical Role in Life Don’t Get Depressed

Posted: August 17, 2014 in Depression, Inner purpose, Suicide

But the importance of your role must be obvious to you. Not others. YOU.

Notice I said “Critical”. Making life merely valuable will only ensure you exist from one day to the next. That is no way to go through life. 

Here is an example:

The actress Goldie Hawn, founder of the Hawn Foundation is also creator of the MindUp Curriculum, a school study program designed to reduce conflict, improve self control and self regulation, and strengthen resiliency. She talks to teachers about, “accepting the enormous and critically important responsibilities and challenges that accompany your mission as an educator.”

There is that word. CRITICAL.

Not many of us have ever really capitalised on the incredible opportunity we have to make a real difference in the way that Goldie Hawn hopes.

The MindUP Curriculum concerns itself with SEL – Social and Emotional Learning. Now this area of teaching is not just confined to school. It exists in every day in a variety of situations. Daily we need to find the ability to control emotions in the midst of trauma.

“Adele Diamond, neuroscientist and founder of developmental cognitive neuroscience, found that students who learn SEL techniques such as role-playing consistently score higher on tests requiring use of the brain’s executive functions– coordinating and controlling, monitoring and troubleshooting, reasoning and imagining (2007). Other tests describe SEL training as resulting in students being ”significantly more attentive, emotionally regulated, and socially and emotionally competent than those without SEL training (2010).

But are we really doing this in our day to day life? We should. We should because we are confronted every day with the opportunity to practice the art of SEL.

If we look at the first practice of a classroom that teaches this curriculum, we see this is where the students practice deep breathing and concentrated listening. It centres the students and opens up their ability to calmly deal with new information.

Hang on. As adults, we need to do this every day. We certainly ask our kids to do it when they are frustrated. We are just no good at doing it ourselves. So what have we got to learn from our academic education system?


The MindUP Curriculum is centred around 15 lessons that not only teach mindful awareness but also how the brain works to achieve this. Amongst other lessons, students are informed about the pre-frontal cortex, the largest of any primate, and that it is responsible for our ability to reflect before reacting. This ‘executive function skill’ is affected by our emotional state. It means that without any form of control, our emotions override our logic.

Adele Diamond again states that, “engaging in physical challenges and mindful practices that enhance learning and reduce stress activate both emotional response and executive function networks simultaneously”.

Sounds like a great idea and we often have done this. Only problem is that we just do it in an ad hoc way as our primary focus is on the ‘stuff of life’. Earning a living. Taking care of others. Getting to the weekend.

Imagine if our main aim was to have complete control over our base urges. Imagine if our aim was to create a real difference in the lives of those around us. We wouldn’t have time to feel sorry for ourself. Pie in the sky ambition? Research tells us otherwise.

And with complete control over base urges, our self esteem would increase. No time for depression if we were involved in CRITICAL work. Who knows, suicide (there I said it) wouldn’t even appear on the radar.

With the passing of Robin Williams, I wish this message was delivered earlier.

Such a waste.



For more on Social and emotional Learning and the 15 lessons, subscribe and Sean will add the lessons in subsequent posts. 


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