Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive

Depressed? Anxious? Gifted? Get Yourself Some Intellectual And Creative Stimulation Pronto!


There might be many reasons you are feeling depressed or anxious. So many reasons. From trauma in your childhood to racism, pandemics, losses of loved ones, homophobia, climate change, illness, poverty, corrupt politicians, antisemitism, all of the other isms, and more.

So many reasons. 

I might even include some lesser but occasionally significant depression and anxiety influencers like hormones, food sensitivities, allergies, and bad hair days. (OK. That last one is very lesser.)

(photo courtesy of Drew Graham, Unsplash)

Because you are the sensitive, perceptive human that you are, your awareness of these factors is pretty much somewhere in your brain at all times, unless you have mastered the art of denial, which, in some cases, can come in handy. Denial can be a useful coping strategy in these tumultuous times as long as it is not used excessively. Or when your curious toddler is wandering out into the street. Therapists do not usually recommend denial. And, I don’t either. Most of the time. But I have found it has come in handy recently.

That said, for you, my little chickadees, there is another reason you might feel depressed and anxious. And this one, I am happy to say, is more easily resolvable. 

Having a rainforest mind means you want intellectual and creative stimulation like others want pizza and ice cream. You NEED it. You may not realize it but if you don’t have enough, you might feel depressed or anxious. Regular people might not care so much about learning new stuff or creating cool solutions to problems or composing a new tune on the ukelele or analyzing impact ionization or creating a better world. But you, well, it is your bread and butter. Or your kale and quinoa, as it were.

The remedy is clear. Where can you find intellectual and creative excitement? If it is not readily available, here are some options for starters: You can browse your independent bookstore, take the online class, do that internet search, buy those paints, join the dance troupe, start a podcast or a blog, get another degree, volunteer at a nonprofit that needs your direction, get lost in Wikipedia, learn a new musical instrument, study your next language, start a business, deepen your spiritual practice, initiate a conversation with the magical creatures in your garden, read and research with abandon, get therapy, and/or try that thing that makes you feel weird but you’ve always wanted to do. And, this is important, in all of these activities, look for the other rainforest-minded humans that might be lurking. Sweetly draw them into your web.

Granted, there will still be many daunting challenges in your inner and outer worlds. But, getting your intellectual and creative needs met will not only lift some of your depression and ease some of your anxiety. It might also become the foundation and inspiration for your paths to your greater Self, your stronger voice, more cool solutions, and, perhaps even creating a better world.


To my bloggEEs: Can you relate to a lack of intellectual and creative stimulation? Tell us about it. Where have you found some? One source for creative inspiration, particularly in the arts, is this podcast/website called Art Church. It is just getting started but promises to become a unique community for spiritually inclined artist-types. And this SoundCloud link is my newest project. (Song Memes for Your Rainforest Mind) It is the weird thing I mention above.

Author: Paula Prober

I'm a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in counseling gifted adults and consulting with parents of gifted children. The label "gifted" is often controversial and confusing. I use the metaphor of the rainforest to describe this population. Like the rainforest, these individuals are quite complex, highly sensitive, intense, multi-layered, and misunderstood. They're also curious, idealistic, highly intelligent, creative, perfectionistic, and they love learning. I've been an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I've written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, and Advanced Development Journal. My first book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, was released in June 2016 by GHF Press and is available on Amazon or at your independent bookstore. My second book, Journey Into Your Rainforest Mind: A Field Guide for Gifted Adults and Teens, Book Lovers, Overthinkers, Geeks, Sensitives, Brainiacs, Intuitives, Procrastinators, and Perfectionists, was released in June 2019.

19 thoughts on “Depressed? Anxious? Gifted? Get Yourself Some Intellectual And Creative Stimulation Pronto!

  1. DOING THE THING! It’s become my mantra and my mission. I’m making sure I make time to work on my novel this week and it’s lifted me SO much. Really noticeably! Getting started is the hardest part. Once you overcome that inertia, the rest (usually) is a lot easier. (Admittedly I’ve been stuck at times, but happily now is not one of those times.) I might even get out my Prismacolor pencils that I got for my birthday almost 19 years ago and illustrate the story. I’m feeling uplifted just thinking about the pictures I could draw.

    I always love encountering other people who want to Do The Thing, even when their Thing is entirely different from mine. Something about their energy! Of course, someone to SHARE the Doing with is surely the best thing ever, but one does not want to get greedy or unrealistic. It’s enough to find other Doers of Things.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I did a THING today. I got 4 chickens. never had chickens before so talking about a steep learning curve. did my homework before hand. The person selling the chickens was pleasantly surprised that I asked him about something he forgot to sell me.
    And yes finding others who like doing the THING is amazing.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. You’ve pegged it again. 🙂
    Especially after the past 4 anti-planet years in the US and the last year plus of being cut off from communication and having to avoid “news” in order to not just give up on life — I’m working on another degree (ms data analytics) and it always seems counterintuitive on the surface, but nothing cheers me up like really digging into statistics and creative analytical solutions with data… while most sub-humans yawn and wonder what your problem is.
    I think it really helps distract me from obsessing, worrying, asking those thousands of questions about “WHY (fill in the blank)?” But breaking old habits of trying to ‘hide out’ from reality this last year has its ups and downs; even though part of me is bored and angrey and still keeps ranting at the other part of me while I’m busily trying to pretend I’m enjoying whatever time-waster I’m engaged in.
    And yet, when you break free and do things that really fulfill and engage and challenge your mind, then everything is OK and the real world even looks better. And the more I do it, the easier it is to sustain. 🙂
    Just still hoping I’m able to meet some RFMs somewhere soon (in person). We have to be so careful not to fully reveal ourselves to others that I’m still not sure how to accomplish that feat. I believe there should be an official RFM club with a secret sign you can give that only other RFMs would know 😀 OK well that’s realistic HAH

    Liked by 5 people

  4. yeah, I hate my typos too. … but busy not obsessing today 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Wow, this is so true!
    But might I add: dealing with those physical reasons for anxiety and depression can be life changing, too. I’ve finally started to (successfully) treat my underlying gut health issues, and all of a sudden I have all this energy and inspiration and creativity. I didn’t even know I was missing it – but now, all of a sudden – I want to play music, write, take classes, and do ALL. THE. THINGS.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Great advice, Paula! Yup, it can be difficult to seek intellectual and creative stimuli with people at times – especially since I live in a small city for now. I think what helps me is simply diving into my hobbies. YouTube has been fascinating for documentaries and learning new info on History and Science. I recently purchased twelve books on all kinds of history and I am looking forward to these summer reads! Though it would be nice to visit Europe, and maybe study there – I think a new environment can help as well, sometimes the same old routine and landscape can become stale (at least for me at times). I think I have always wanted to start a YouTube podcast for interviewing writers on their work, but no idea how to start and a little intimidated, though definitely an excellent way to nourish that creative and intellectual stimulation, and also, to make new friends!

    Liked by 2 people

    • That is a great idea, Karli! I’m sure you can figure out how to do a YouTube podcast. If I can figure out Instagram, you can do this! Let us know when you get it going. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Karli, if it helps and you’d like to try a written version, I’d love to offer up my platform — — for you to share your interviews. If you like doing it and like the response, you could launch your podcast from there. Third Factor is supposed to be about Doing The Thing, whether that is writers on their work, or you on the process of launching a podcast. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Greetings Jessie, thank you kindly for your comment! Will definitely take a look at your website link in more detail tomorrow. The memoir and biography section seems very interesting in the magazine.. 🙂 That would be terrific, thank you kindly! I will definitely let you know and share it if I ever want to start a writers podcast! Not sure if I want to just focus on Canadian writers for now, but will definitely keep all of this in mind – it seems like a very vibrant magazine!

        Liked by 2 people

        • Thank you, Karli! That’s so kind of you to say. It just sounded like we might be on a similar page there…and even if it turns out we’re a couple pages apart, no worries. It’s just nice to see people giving off the same sort of creative energy. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

  7. My husband used to say I was difficult to live with when I was writing. But then he would add that I was way MORE difficult to live with when I wasn’t!

    Am back to work again finally (Covid’s message was PAUSE) on book #31…Thank goodness.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I write a pantoum, here and there. Or, I like to just blog a lot more and connect with others.

    Liked by 1 person

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