Doctor’s Order

Dr. Samantha Boardman recently released Everyday Vitality, her first solo book, which examines the notion of improving one’s mental health. The Harvard, Cornell, and Penn-trained Boardman could not have chosen a more timely topic to address, with the isolation and stress of the pandemic, and the very recent focus—especially in the sports world—on how to cope and actually thrive in  an increasingly mad world.

Boardman advises and enlightens readers, explaining in a logical and simple way some topics that are  generally perceived as complex and mysterious.

“Depression tends to be episodic. It comes and it goes. ‘Snapping out of’ a depressive episode is neither a fair, nor realistic expectation.” The poet Robert Lowell’s letter to a friend captures the transitory nature of the illness: “I have been thinking much about you all summer, and how we have gone through the same trouble, visiting the bottom of the world. I have wanted to stretch out a hand, and tell you that I have been there too, and how it all lightens and life swims back.”

Dr. Samantha Boardman

 Research shows that well-being isn’t only in your head—it is in your actions, your interactions, your contributions and connections with others. Individual well-being is an oxymoron and happiness doesn’t only come from within, it also comes from “with.”

As the old saying goes, every day may not be good but there is some good in every day. The key is to be deliberate about finding and cultivating uplifts—the counterpart to everyday annoyances and frustrations. For me, the most reliable way to turn a tough day around isn’t to focus on myself. It is to do something for someone else.

Money in excess can be problematic, but the lack of financial stability is far more concerning when it comes to mental health. The never-ending pursuit of material goods leaves people feeling unfulfilled. Contrary to what many believe, more money, a faster car, a brand new dress, and a bigger house might give a fleeting boost but it won’t last. As Art Buchwald, the late humorist,  once said: “the best things in life aren’t things.”