Brett.Ullman

Words of advice for all graduating students.

Today my son Ben graduations from Grade 8. To Ben and all graduates today here is my favourite graduation song/poem.

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’97
Wear sunscreen
If I could offer you only one tip for the future
Sunscreen would be it

The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists
Whereas the rest of my advice
Has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience
I will dispense this advice now

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth
Oh, never mind
You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded
But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself
And recall in a way you can’t grasp now
How much possibility lay before you
And how fabulous you really looked
You are not as fat as you imagine

Don’t worry about the future
Or worry
But know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind
The kind that blindside you at 4 PM on some idle Tuesday
Do one thing everyday that scares you

Sing

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts
Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours

Floss

Don’t waste your time on jealousy
Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind
The race is long
And in the end, it’s only with yourself

Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults
If you succeed in doing this, tell me how

Keep your old love letters
Throw away your old bank statements

Stretch

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life
The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives
Some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t

Get plenty of calcium

Be kind to your knees
You’ll miss them when they’re gone

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t
Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t
Maybe you’ll divorce at 40
Maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary

Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either
Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s
Enjoy your body
Use it every way you can
Don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it
It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own

Dance

Even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room
Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them
Do not read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly

Get to know your parents
You never know when they’ll be gone for good

Be nice to your siblings
They are the best link to your past
And the people most likely to stick with you in the future

Understand that friends come and go
But for the precious few you should hold on
Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle
Because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young

Live in New York City once
But leave before it makes you hard
Live in Northern California once
But leave before it makes you soft

Travel

Accept certain inalienable truths
Prices will rise
Politicians will philander
You too will get old
And when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young
Prices were reasonable
Politicians were noble
And children respected their elders

Respect your elders

Don’t expect anyone else to support you
Maybe you have a trust fund
Maybe you have a wealthy spouse
But you never know when either one might run out

Don’t mess too much with your hair
Or by the time you’re 40, it will look 85

Be careful whose advice you buy
But be patient with those who supply it
Advice is a form of nostalgia
Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off
Painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth

But trust me on the sunscreen

We Can’t Ignore This Silent Crisis In Men’s Mental Health

Important conversations. Please read.

Around 80 per cent of suicides in Canada are carried out by men, with men aged 40-60 having the highest rates. Likewise rates of substance use disorder are very high in this demographic, outnumbering women by a rate of three to one. Moreover, some research suggests that depression is elevated in this group. But this is under-reported due to diagnostic bias, where clinicians perceive depression as a “woman’s illness,” and act accordingly.

All this could be due to various factors.

Firstly, traditionally male industries such as manufacturing, forestry and fishing have declined precipitously. This has left many middle-aged men (especially in rural areas) unemployed or under-employed; leaving them without pride, meaning and purpose in life.

Secondly, research suggests that middle-aged men experience divorce and separation particularly hard. This can be a painful process, with men often losing their children, savings, friends, home and reputation. Indeed, a recent Canadian study shows poor mental health in this group.

Thirdly, there are few specific statutory services targeted to helping middle-aged men. For example a recent Statistics Canada report noted that there were 627 shelters for abused women and zero for abused men, even though men make up around 50 per cent of abuse victims.

Please click here for the entire article.

Brett Ullman: Topics for your Church, Conference, School or Camp

Hi Everyone,

I hope you all enjoying your summer. As we begin planning another school / ministry year I wanted to send out a blog with information on all of the talks that I do. Below is a list of the topics that I offer:

(1) The Walking Wounded – This talk is looking at how we as Christians can have a practical yet Biblical approach to help people struggling with mental health. It includes my own journey struggling with anxiety as well. It answers the question “What do you do when you or someone you love is struggling with Anxiety?”
Promotional Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzLLIMTHz1I
Designed for: I do this talk for many Sunday morning church services as well as special nights for parents / students. In schools I do this for High School age.

(2) The.Sex.Talk (Parents Edition) is a version of my sex talk designed for parents. It is NOT a talk about the new Health Curriculum but a talk about how we as parents can help our kids create a Biblical worldview in the area of sex. It is meant to be very practical to help parents in this bridge these topics with our kids.
Promotional Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8VI7Acaj6w
Designed for: Parents & a similar version for High School Students

(3) media.faith.culture – the disconnect – This is a fully re-done talk. This talk is a broad talk looking into how we connect our faith with our culture (music, movies, social media etc). Answering the question of how do we connect our ancient faith with our modern world.
Designed for: Grade 7-8 (Could be 6-8). High School & Parents. This is my most common talk for Sunday morning services, youth groups as well as Schools (Elementary and High School)

(4) The Porn Project – is my brand new talk on pornography. It is less about pornography and more about how we as Christians can break free from our struggles with this and how to help our kids in this journey as well
Designed for: Parents & High School Students

(5) Dating.for.life: The Questions – In this new update of my dating for life talk I have gone back to the basics. In this new talk I answer 8 questions on dating: What is dating? When should I start dating? How do I start dating? How do I break up? etc.
Designed for: High School Students

(6) The Man Talk – The Man Talk is what it sounds like – a discussion about what it’s like to be a Man today. It’s a real talk, a meat and potatoes approach to issues pressing us from all sides. In this talk I challenge men to be better husbands, fathers and boyfriends.
Designed for: Men’s Breakfasts or special events at church

If you are interested in any talk please let me know. you can find more information on each talk off of my www.brettullman.com website.

Thanks for your time,

Brett Ullman
Executive Director
Worlds Apart
www.brettullman.com

P.S. I also have a large resource blog on my website www.brettullman.com. You can just go to the site and click on the headings and find hundreds of great resources I have posted this past 2 years in categories like mental health, sex and porn, media, spiritual disciplines, parenting and many more.

Quit social media | Dr. Cal Newport | TEDxTysons

Great Ted talk. Well worth the time to watch. I am NOT saying we all need to quit social media. I do think we need to engage in social media carefully and not just with indifference.

… constant exports from your friends constant curated, positive portrayals  of their life. can leave you to feel inadequate and can increase rates of depression.

Fundamental mismatch between the way are brains are wired and this behaviour of exposing yourself to stimuli with intermittent rewards throughout all of your waking hours. Its one thing to spend a couple of hours at a slot machine in Las Vegas, but if you bring one with you, and you pull the handle all day long, from when you wake up to when you go to bed; we’re not wired from it. It short circuits the brain and we’re staring to find it has actual cognitive consequences, one of them being this sort of pervasive background hum of anxiety.

Love to hear your thoughts.

 

Research: Loneliness in Mental Illness

For my research in Loneliness I am going to post 1 area in which we experience loneliness per week and see how people feel in each area. Love to hear any thoughts, quotes, books etc

Last week I asked about Loneliness in leadership and I heard from leaders across the country about their struggles.

This weeks area is looking at loneliness in mental illness. This is a close one to my heart as I think much of my loneliness comes from my journey with anxiety, depression, panic attacks etc. Mental illness makes us live within our own heads and for me often separates from the world around me.

Love to hear any thoughts. You can post in the comments on all social media, this blog or send me an email/PM.

Thanks

Advice: creating a survey about Loneliness.

I am in the process of creating a survey looking at Loneliness and trying to make sure I ask the right questions. Would you mind reading the draft survey below and let me know what I am missing? Any thing I should take out? Any thoughts?
I am NOT asking you to do the survey but to look at the survey itself and make suggestions.
 
1. What is your age range?
[ ] Elementary School (K-8)
[ ] High School (9-12)
[ ] College / University
[ ] 20’s
[ ] 30’s
[ ] 40’s
[ ] 50’s
[ ] 60’s
[ ] 70+
 
2. Are you
[ ] Female
[ ] Male
 
3. Marital Status:
[ ] Single
[ ] Engaged
[ ] Married
[ ] Separated
[ ] Dicorced
[ ] Widowed
Comment (optional)
 
4. Do you have children
[ ] No
[ ] Yes, I have children in Elementary School
[ ] Yes, I have children in High School
[ ] Yes, I have children in College / University
[ ] Yes, I have adult children
Comment (optional):
 
5. Where do you live?
Drop down of all countries
 
6. If you had to answer only yes or no. Is loneliness a struggle you have?
[ ] yes
[ ] no
 
7. On a scale of 1 to 10 what would your experience with loneliness rate
[ ] 1 – not lonely
[ ] 2
[ ] 3 – mildly lonely
[ ] 4
[ ] 5 – moderately lonely
[ ] 6
[ ] 7 – very lonely
[ ] 8
[ ] 9
[ ] 10 – painfully lonely
 
 
8. In what area(s) do you experience loneliness
[ ] marriage
[ ] singleness
[ ] parenting
[ ] leadership
[ ] you’re an introvert
[ ] mental health struggles
[ ] physical health struggles
[ ] seniors
[ ] lack of close friendships
[ ] lack of authentic church community
[ ] sin and disobedience
[ ] life circumstances
[ ] other?
 
9. Do you feel stuck in this place of loneliness?
[ ] yes
[ ] no
 
10. What have you tried to break free from the loneliness?
[ ] exercise
[ ] faith (church)
[ ] counselling
[ ] sports
[ ] volunteer
[ ] build authentic friendships
[ ] go on a date
[ ] grow your relationship with your spouse
[ ] get a pet
[ ] movies
[ ] TV
[ ] Social media
[ ] read books
[ ] hobbies
[ ] journal
[ ] others?
 
11. Have you ever tried other ways of dealing with your loneliness
 
[ ] alcohol
[ ] drugs
[ ] overeating
[ ] self hard
[ ] pornography
[ ] shopping
[ ] sleep
[ ] others?
 
12. How many deep friendships do you have? Friends who authentically accept you and you can be yourself around.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
comment (optional):
 
13. I feel most lonely when…
comment (optional):
 
14. I don’t feel lonely when…
comment (optional):
15. How do you think we got to this place of loneliness as a society?
comment (optional):
 
Thanks for any help.
 
Brett

Guy Winch: Why we all need to practice emotional first aid

Another great TED talk. check it out.

But what do we know about maintaining our psychological health? Well, nothing. What do we teach our children about emotional hygiene? Nothing. How is it that we spend more time taking care of our teeth than we do our minds? Why is it that our physical health is so much more important to us than our psychological health?

We sustain psychological injuries even more often than we do physical ones, injuries like failure or rejection or loneliness. And they can also get worse if we ignore them, and they can impact our lives in dramatic ways. And yet, even though there are scientifically proven techniques we could use to treat these kinds of psychological injuries, we don’t. It doesn’t even occur to us that we should. “Oh, you’re feeling depressed? Just shake it off; it’s all in your head.” Can you imagine saying that to somebody with a broken leg: “Oh, just walk it off; it’s all in your leg.”

Loneliness creates a deep psychological wound, one that distorts our perceptions and scrambles our thinking. It makes us believe that those around us care much less than they actually do. It make us really afraid to reach out, because why set yourself up for rejection and heartache when your heart is already aching more than you can stand? I was in the grips of real loneliness back then, but I was surrounded by people all day, so it never occurred to me. But loneliness is defined purely subjectively. It depends solely on whether you feel emotionally or socially disconnected from those around you. And I did. There is a lot of research on loneliness, and all of it is horrifying. Loneliness won’t just make you miserable; it will kill you. I’m not kidding. Chronic loneliness increases your likelihood of an early death by 14 percent.Fourteen percent! Loneliness causes high blood pressure, high cholesterol. It even suppress the functioning of your immune system, making you vulnerable to all kinds of illnesses and diseases. In fact, scientists have concluded that taken together, chronic loneliness poses as significant a risk for your long-term health and longevity as cigarette smoking. Now, cigarette packs come with warnings saying, “This could kill you.” But loneliness doesn’t. And that’s why it’s so important that we prioritize our psychological health, that we practice emotional hygiene. Because you can’t treat a psychological woundif you don’t even know you’re injured.

Click here if the link does not load.

Sherry Turkle: Connected, but alone?

One of the best TED talks I have heard in years. Please take a few minutes to watch this.

So just to take some quick examples: People text or do email during corporate board meetings. They text and shop and go on Facebook during classes, during presentations, actually during all meetings. People talk to me about the important new skill of making eye contact while you’re texting. People explain to me that it’s hard, but that it can be done. Parents text and do email at breakfast and at dinner while their children complain about not having their parents’ full attention. But then these same children deny each other their full attention. This is a recent shot of my daughter and her friends being together while not being together. And we even text at funerals. I study this. We remove ourselves from our grief or from our revery and we go into our phones.

When I ask people “What’s wrong with having a conversation?” People say, “I’ll tell you what’s wrong with having a conversation. It takes place in real time and you can’t control what you’re going to say.” So that’s the bottom line. Texting, email, posting, all of these things let us present the self as we want to be.We get to edit, and that means we get to delete, and that means we get to retouch, the face, the voice, the flesh, the body — not too little, not too much, just right.

How do you get from connection to isolation? You end up isolated if you don’t cultivate the capacity for solitude, the ability to be separate, to gather yourself. Solitude is where you find yourself so that you can reach out to other people and form real attachments. When we don’t have the capacity for solitude, we turn to other people in order to feel less anxious or in order to feel alive. When this happens, we’re not able to appreciate who they are. It’s as though we’re using them as spare parts to support our fragile sense of self. We slip into thinking that always being connected is going to make us feel less alone. But we’re at risk, because actually it’s the opposite that’s true. If we’re not able to be alone, we’re going to be more lonely. And if we don’t teach our children to be alone, they’re only going to know how to be lonely.

There’s plenty of timefor us to reconsider how we use it, how we build it. I’m not suggesting that we turn away from our devices, just that we develop a more self-aware relationship with them, with each other and with ourselves.

 

The Innovation of Loneliness

Great video.

What is the connection between Social Networks and Being Lonely?

I share therefore I am. We use technology to define ourselves. by sharing our thoughts and feelings even as we’re having them. Furthermore, we’re faking experiences so we’ll have something to share so we can feel alive. We slip into thinking that always being connected is going to make us feel … less alone. But we are at risk because the opposite is true. If we are not able to be alone we’re only going to know how to be lonely

Click here for the entire video if it does not load.

Research: Loneliness in Leadership

There are many areas that people experience loneliness in their lives. One area is leadership.

Whether you are a leaders in business, pastor, principal, manager or a leader in any aspect of life I think loneliness is something that people struggle with. “It is lonely at the top” is a quote I have heard many people say.

I would love to hear any of your thoughts on loneliness in leadership. Thoughts, quotes, books, personal stories etc.

If you missed the reason I am doing this research on Loneliness please check out my blog http://www.brettullman.com/new-research-loneliness/

Thanks for any help,

Brett