You might think you’re too busy to champion a cause. 

With all of life’s stressors constantly demanding your attention, perhaps championing a cause seems like it would do nothing but add to your plate. But, the truth is it doesn’t have to take all your time (and money) to make a difference toward a cause that matters to you. 

And, there’s a lot you’ll get out of it in return.

4 tips for finding a cause

Now for the million dollar question: what cause should you champion? Luckily, that’s totally up to you. That said, here are five pieces of advice to help you in your decision. 

  1. Identify what matters most to you. Think about your passions, your values, and what energizes you. The right cause should give you energy, not drain it from you.
  2. Identify your gifts/abilities. List all the gifts you know you have and include any training or skills that bring you joy in using. The goal here is to match your gifts/skills with the causes most in need of them.
  3. Narrow it down. The easiest way to do this is by location. Do you want to make an impact locally or globally? The answer might be both, but consider realistically where your efforts could have the most impact.
  4. Don’t focus on the bottom line. It doesn’t take money to support a cause or to make a meaningful contribution. Interested in volunteering? If you have time to offer, check You can type in your city, a date, and what sort of cause you would like to volunteer for (for example, “education”), and it will give you organizations you can support that day.
  5. Think long term. If a recent natural disaster or humanitarian crisis is pulling on your heartstrings, you might think “hurricane relief” or “refugee work” should be your cause. But, championing a cause is different than giving immediate support.

What you’ll get out of it

Championing a cause will improve your sense of accomplishment and agency; and working with a cause you really care about will help you to feel motivated and inspired especially as you witness your direct impact. 

Unlike other areas of your life where you may feel you lack control, championing a cause lets you choose how, where, and when to make a difference. Not to mention, it’s a great way to meet new people who have the same values, improve or learn new skills, and put your talents to work.

So, put yourself out there and use those gifts of yours to help build a better world!

A 2018 Marist Poll found that the most popular New Year’s resolution that year was to be a better person. Great right? But, what does that even mean? 

What’s morality?

Typically, people understand being good as being moral. 

The word moral is often closely associated with religion as the most prominent religions have been steadfast guardians of moral codes for centuries, if not millenniums. For some, organized religion is valuable precisely for this reason.

For others, a sense of morality comes from what’s learned in school, particularly within higher education. 

With the dissemination of the scientific community’s insistence on the necessity of separating what ought from what is, higher education became where people learned about how the world is and was but not how it ought to be. In many ways, education intentionally abandoned its moral teaching impetus. 

People have innate freedom to construct their own belief systems and make their own moral decisions and, while this is ultimately a positive thing, it can be daunting as well. 

The moral systems that come from the major religions or philosophical schools have been iterated on and improved for many centuries and therefore they tend to be battled-tested and hold-up well in most contexts.

Creating our own moral systems without the benefit of our ancestors’ wisdom is a sure path to frustration. In our short lifespans, we can’t hope to learn all that we need to develop a sound moral system capable of guiding us through life’s innumerable trials. That said, this shouldn’t discourage us from questioning inherited morality or seeking to build on humanity’s brain-trust.

The morality trap is the idea that your moral code comes from something or someone outside yourself. But, there is evidence to suggest that we all have some basic sense of morality. Social psychologists, ethicists and religious leaders show that, for the most part, we do agree on “the big stuff” no matter what walk of life we come from: being kind and being fair are good, murdering and stealing are bad.

If we agree on “the big stuff” then why are people unfair? Why do people steal? The reality is  the morality we practice in adulthood is significantly influenced by how we were cared for and socialized as children, and whether we often experienced love, empathy, and kindness.

Realizing your moral code

In many ways, it’s not a matter of discovering your moral code, it’s rather a matter of realizing what it already is.

A moral code is essentially a code of conduct. It provides a basis from which to determine your actions and their consequences: how they affect you, how they affect different areas of your life, and how they affect those around you. 

Your moral code will depend on your belief system as well as your emotional nature, abilities, strengths, weaknesses, and goals. It must be consistent with your goals otherwise your morality will end up frustrating your efforts to realize your goals.

A moral code won’t encompass every possible situation. A moral code is only concerned with moral questions. Moral questions are concerned only with situations that bear large, moral consequences. In this way, the moral code is only called into action in the event of a true moral dilemma. 

Think here of the familiar trolley problem: do you save five people in danger of being killed by the trolley by diverting it to kill one?

It’s a hard, seemingly impossible decision. It’s a question that can only be answered using your moral code. The trolley problem distinguishes between two concepts of morality: in one, it is moral to choose the action with the best overall consequences (only one person dies); in the other, the idea that we should always adhere to strict principles like “don’t kill” (by diverting the train, you are choosing to kill that one person).

Still unsure about your moral code?

There’s endless thought experiments, like the trolley problem, that you can find online to help you figure out what makes your moral code tick. As you get a better understanding of your moral code, you’ll find it easier to make confident moral decisions.

If you’re struggling to discern your moral code, try a few Google searches that outline the moral codes of the major religions or philosophical schools. They might illuminate what is hidden within you.

Boredom, no big deal right? Actually, it’s a bigger problem than most people think. 

Through lack of physical activity and inattention to diet, too much time in a bored state is likely to contribute to a decline in overall health. For example, long-term boredom can increase a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease, as well as increase the likelihood of obesity. 

Not to mention, constant boredom can be a sign of depression. 

Now, consider that the average adult in the United States experiences 131 days of boredom a year. Or that 90% of students experience boredom at least one time per day. So, Halcyon set out to do something about it.

The campaign

We recently launched a campaign to educate people about the serious implications of boredom and instigate behavior-change to address it.

We put together a 10-question quiz that would inform people about the effects of boredom and challenge them to take boredom seriously as a physical and mental health risk. At the end of the quiz, we included a toolkit of ideas for people looking to break the cycle of boredom.

Facebook interest research was done to focus the audience to ensure audience relevance would be high. Using this research, we identified three target interest groups for this campaign. 

The first was mainstream media followers across the U.S., Canada, Australia and Europe. The second audience was those who uniquely followed social platforms. The third targeted the followers of large health and wellness influencers. 

As it turned out, the mainstream media audience was slightly more engaged compared to our other two target audiences. 

And it would seem that women are more engaged with the boredom topic than men. A whopping 74.4% of sessions on our campaign page were female!

The results

The campaign was a success! Respondents were split almost evenly in terms of having or not having prior awareness on the issue of boredom. 56.4% of respondents were aware of the facts we presented, while 43.6% of respondents stated they had learned something new.

To sum it up:

  • 83.1% of respondents stated they care more about boredom after what they learned from our quiz.
  • 82.2% of respondents stated they would be more inclined to change the way they live to address boredom.
  • 93.53% of respondents who completed the survey accessed the post survey toolkit on how to monitor boredom.

What you can do

If you want to learn more about boredom’s causes and effects, and how you can prevent boredom in your own life, just follow these easy steps:

  • Test your knowledge and take our quiz!
  • At the end of the quiz, take a look at our toolkit of boredom-fighting strategies.
  • Share! Tell your friends what you’ve learned, send them the quiz and help increase awareness about boredom.

Donate! When you donate to The Halcyon Movement, you help us continue to bring awareness to issues like boredom that get in the way of human flourishing.

We all have things that guide us and our decision-making, both tangible and intangible. 

A big contributor to the intangible camp is the way we think. What we think of a situation is sure to influence how we move forward in that situation. 

But, human thinking is anything but fool-proof. That’s where principles come in. While principles can’t necessarily give us the final answers for all the questions in our lives, they can save us from knee-jerk reactions, contradiction, and our egos. 

Principles are like ground rules

Principles provide a mode of operation for engaging in a wide variety of life situations. Simply put, principles help solve problems. Not sure what to do next? Look to your principles. Not sure how to respond in a given situation? Look to your principles. 

Principles don’t determine behavior, but they determine kinds of behavior.

Principles, like “don’t cheat” or “family first” for examples, are cut and dry. They provide you both a starting point and an intention for your decision-making. In doing so, they make decision-making more straightforward. That’s because principles usually remove courses of action from the equation, rather than adding them. They don’t tell you what to do, they tell you what not to do 

Principles draw out core insights

Principles like “don’t cheat” are generated from a combination of experiences, memories, and insights. When you make a principle for yourself or borrow one from a value system like Christianity, essentially what you’re doing is taking the core insight from all of your or your ancestors’ memories, experiences, and insights and adopting them as a rule going forward. 

Time and repeated use of your principles will only hone them more, making your decision-making sharper and more consistent.

Principles give us a sense of stability

If you live as a principled person, you can rest assured in the knowledge that your principles won’t be changing situation to situation. 

Day to day life can serve us any number of unknowns and for those who hold few to no principles it can be a slog, as they’re constantly having to measure things according to their immediate self-interest.
Principles remind us of our place in the world and why we are here and so helps us to find the narrow path through any given situation.

Moreover, principles are a tool that help ensure we are constantly evolving, improving, and if you’re looking for one reason to live by them, consider that every modern civilization has made it urgent work to codify and celebrate them. The fact is, civilization just doesn’t work without them and, as it happens, people don’t typically either.

Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, affecting more than 264 million people of all ages. 

It’s also a leading contributor to the global burden of disease. And yet, depression research is still under-funded, people suffering with it are still stigmatized, and treatment options are shamefully limited.

The harsh reality is we live in a world where depression has become a public mental health crisis. Still don’t think it’s that bad? Consider these troubling facts:

  • Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy, change in weight, difficulty sleeping or oversleeping, energy loss, feelings of worthlessness, and thoughts of death or suicide are all possible symptoms of a depressive episode.
  • Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression than men.
  • Suicide, which may result from depression, is the second leading cause of death in 15-29 year olds.
  • There is an interrelationship between depression and physical health. For example, depression can lead to cardiovascular disease and vice versa.
  • 3.2 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in the U.S. have had at least one major depressive episode.
  • 76-85% of people in low and middle income countries go untreated for depression, despite the existence of effective psychological and pharmacological treatments.

The campaign

Recognizing the widespread mental health risk posed by depression, Halcyon launched a campaign to inform and activate people to address it. The goal: raise awareness and encourage people to take action on the issue of depression, whether it be in their own lives or supporting someone they know.

We put together a 10-question quiz that could simultaneously inform, challenge, and encourage people to take action to address societal depression. Our target audience was U.S. based, within the 18-65+ age range, and English-speaking. Facebook interest research was done to focus the audience further to ensure audience relevance would be high.

The results

This campaign was a big success! Relative to other Halcyon campaigns, users were significantly better informed on the issue of depression. The best part is that 96.59% of respondents who completed the quiz clicked on the post survey resource.

To sum it up:

  • 89% of respondents stated they care more about depression after what they learned from our quiz.
  • 89.9% of respondents stated they would be more inclined to change the way they live to address depression.
  • 94.59% of respondents who completed the survey accessed the post survey toolkit on how to manage depression.

What you can do

If you want to learn more about depression and be apart of the solution, just follow these simple steps:

  • Test your knowledge and take our quiz!
  • At the end of the quiz, check out the toolkit if you want to take action and handle your own depression or support others in their efforts.
  • Share! Tell your friends what you’ve learned, send them the quiz and help increase awareness about depression.
  • Donate! When you donate to The Halcyon Movement, you help us continue to bring awareness to major problems like depression with the hope of inspiring positive action.

When you’re bored, it can often feel like there’s nothing to do and this feeling can lead to days that seem downright gloomy. Fortunately, there’s plenty of things you can do to send your boredom packing! 

Here are five easy activities to keep boredom at bay and add a little fun to your day.

1. Catch up with loved ones

Whether it be in person or over the phone, catching up with a friend or family member is sure to lift your spirits. And if you choose to catch up via phone, it doesn’t have to be through regular old call or text. 

For iPhone users, Facetime is always a great option for video calls. There’s also Zoom, Google Meet, and Skype. Even Facebook, Snapchat and Whatsap offer video chat.

2. Cook something new

Even when you’re bored, you have to eat. Why not change it up? 

A good recipe is a great way to kill time, learn something new, and get your body the calories it needs! Remember, lack of nutrients won’t do anything to help your boredom; in fact, it’ll only make it worse.

Hate cooking? Pull out Google Maps and find a restaurant nearby with a stellar rating and give it a try or grab some takeout and try eating somewhere with a view. 

3. Organize your space

Take lessons from Netflix’s show The Home Edit and optimize your space. 

Decluttering and organizing your physical space will help do the same to your mental state, and give you something to focus on other than that bored feeling. 

Added bonus, if you find stuff you decide you don’t need, you can give it to charity!

4. Meditate

Perhaps the best way to cure your boredom is to do “nothing” at all. In today’s society, it is way too easy to lose track of your body’s and mind’s needs to pause. 

Try practicing stillness, and use it as an opportunity to reflect on the positive things in your life. 

Having a hard time meditating on your own? There’s plenty of guided meditations on YouTube at your disposal. 

5. Get into art

Bring out the arts and crafts. Don’t have any art supplies lying around? No problem. Just about every digital device has an app or software you can doodle away on. On an iPhone or iPad, you can even doodle within the Notes app, which comes pre-downloaded on your device. Not to mention, you’re sure to have some paper and a pencil lying around somewhere.

How do you know if you’re bored? 

Boredom is different from laziness, although it might look similar on the outside. It’s not that bored people don’t want to do anything; it’s just that nothing excites or interests them. 

Boredom is characterized by an empty feeling. It usually brings with it a limited attention span and a sense of apathy. If you’re feeling bored, you might also feel tired, anxious, or restless. You could also feel depressed. But, why? What makes boredom happen?

Lack of sleep

Inadequate rest can contribute to feelings of boredom. Remember, sleep is good for you! The National Sleep Foundation advises that healthy adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

Poor nutrition 

A healthy diet makes for a healthy mind! Sugary foods, white bread, baked goods, high caffeine drinks, and heavily processed foods are known to increase feelings of fatigue and sluggishness.

Need for variety

Too much repetition of the same activity or activities can make day-to-day life monotonous, especially for those who have a strong need for excitement. Things that are predictable and repetitive become boring, and can contribute to feeling “trapped” in a routine.

Lack of diversified recreational activities

This goes along with a need for variety. Some monotony can’t be helped, like waiting in line or being stuck in traffic. That said, if you’ve pigeonholed yourself into just a few recreational activities, you might feel bored in your free time too.

Hard time paying attention

Boredom is connected to problems with attention. It’s easy to be bored with something when you cannot concentrate on it. People with chronic attention problems, like ADHD, have high tendencies for boredom.

To say it again, boredom that lasts for long periods of time or occurs often might be a sign of depression. If this describes you or someone you know, consider getting a doctor’s opinion to see if you’re “just bored” or dealing with something bigger.

Now that we have explored a few reasons why you might be bored, stay tuned to our channels for our next blog on how to overcome boredom.

Do a Google search on “how to manage depression” and you’ll be flooded with results.

For the most part, it’s a lot of the same: exercise, eat well, better sleep, see a doctor, find a therapist. And, in terms of good advice, these things are all true. But, in and of themselves, they are not a solution.

There is, of course, no one-size-fits-all solution to depression, just as depression is not a one-size-fits-all disease. That said, if you or someone you know is struggling, here are five tips to help improve your state of mind.

1. Write it down

Depression commonly goes hand-in-hand with distorted, negative thinking. 

People who experience depression are more likely to think and ruminate on negative thoughts: negative thoughts about themselves, their futures, and the world in general. 

To help step out of a harmful pattern of thinking, it can be useful to write down recurring thoughts, given that these are often distortions that perpetuate unhelpful behaviors. 

By writing down these thoughts, it is easier to recognize the distorted thinking. Challenge what’s written. Consider, does it help to think this way?

2. Don’t procrastinate

While avoiding tasks feels easier at times, especially when you are feeling like you have no energy or interest, avoidance does nothing to promote a sense of productivity. 

By doing your tasks and not procrastinating, you’re helping yourself to feel a sense of accomplishment and self-efficacy

3. Be intentional

Be sure to acknowledge when you’re winning!. 

When experiencing depression, it’s easy to get bogged down in the big picture: all that isn’t getting done, all that isn’t going well. In doing so, you overlook the “routine” successes and accomplishments you achieve everyday. 

You should be your biggest fan and so be intentional about taking a moment to congratulate yourself from time to time.

4. Practice self-compassion

Be a friend to yourself. 

Think of how you treat your friends, and treat yourself with that same compassion. Extend grace to yourself where you might think you don’t deserve it. 

Constantly thinking down on yourself is being unfair to yourself, and will only worsen feelings of depression. Give yourself the gift of kindness and try to train yourself to be less dependent on affirmation from others

Set a reminder everyday to acknowledge one thing about yourself you like and one area you feel you’ve grown. Trust us, it works!

5. Enjoy the little things

Find healthy, little activities that you can enjoy and practice routinely. 

This can be something as “uneventful” as taking a bath, reading a favorite book, Facetiming a friend, or going for a drive with the windows down. 

People who struggle with depression are more likely to feel disinterested, but there’s always something—no matter how small—that can help bring a smile to your face!

Boredom, no big deal right?

Actually, it’s a bigger problem than most people think.

Did you know that long-term boredom can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease? How about depression? Boredom can also damage your physical health: through lack of physical activity and inattention to diet, too much time in a bored state is likely to contribute to a decline in overall health. 

Consider then that the average adult in the U.S. experiences 131 days of boredom a year! That’s almost a third of the year.

That’s 131 days without fun, excitement, or feeling interested in something. 

The boredom problem is even more severe with students. In fact, a whopping 90% of students experience boredom at least once a day. Working adults aren’t far behind with 87% of working adults reporting feeling bored at work.

So, since boredom affects so many of us, on an almost daily basis, why is it commonly brushed off as no big deal?

We have a hypothesis. It’s pretty simple. People just don’t get that boredom is often a kind of canary in a coal mine that informs us of potentially deeper and unaddressed issues. 

Halcyon has designed a campaign that is launching shortly to increase awareness of the boredom problem as well as arm people with a toolkit to overcome it.

Keep an eye on our social media channels for the launch of this campaign and be sure to subscribe to our email list so you don’t miss a thing!

What is depression? 

To answer this question, let’s start with the facts. Here are ten things you might not know about disease that affects almost 300 million people globally.

  1. Depression encompasses Major Depressive Disorder, bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, post-traumatic stress syndrome, anxiety disorder and suicide.
  2. Depression represents 99% of all mental illness, with schizophrenia and major psychotic illness representing the other 1%.
  3. Daily exercise and a healthy diet can help reduce depression symptoms.
  4. Severe depression is rated in the same disability category as terminal stage cancer.
  5. Two thirds of people with depression do not receive treatment.
  6. Nearly 50% of people diagnosed with depression are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
  7. There is one death by suicide every twelve minutes in the United States.
  8. Personal or family history of depression, major life changes, trauma, stress, and some medications increase the likelihood of developing depression.[
  9. Depression receives 1/100th of the funding that breast cancer receives annually, despite the fact that about as many people die from suicide each year as the number of people who die from breast cancer.
  10. There’s an interrelationship between depression and physical health. For example, depression can lead to cardiovascular disease and vice versa.

Depression is a global issue

Taking those facts into account, it’s even more startling to learn that depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.

As of 2016, the United States, India, and China boast the highest rates of depression. 

In contrast, Finland regularly tops the annual charts as the “happiest” country. But this grand title has its own set of challenges, making those in Finland who do suffer from depression more likely to feel flawed or weak.. 

Stigma against people who experience mental health issues has only begun to fall out of fashion, thanks in part to a greater scientific understanding of the issue as well as increased awareness advocacy by governments and NGOs.. 

That said, increasing dependence on technology, financial pressures, social media addiction especially among adolescents, and socio-political and environmental realities have certainly done nothing to quell the tide of depression diagnoses.

Unique among mental illnesses, depression is simultaneously a brain disorder and a state of mind. 

Fortunately, there are known pharmacological and psychological treatments available for mild, moderate and severe depression. Antidepressants can be an effective form of treatment for adults experiencing moderate to severe depression.The majority of people who take antidepressants will also go to some form of therapy. 

There are various types of therapy used to address depression, most common is cognitive behavioral therapy.

Most Importantly

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish).