People who find meaning in their lives find hope

*Published in my column, Inspire and Equip! Tempo (Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp.), January 28, 2018

Imagine the stark difference between wealthy, pampered, free and extremely comfortable people who chose to end their lives and the miserable conditions of holocaust prisoners who struggled to find hope – and survived. Holocaust prisoners who had some meaning in their lives were more likely to survive, according to world-renowned Austrian psychiatrist and psychotherapist Viktor Frankl, a holocaust survivor himself.

What do you live for? Do you contribute anything to something which is bigger than yourself? If you feel bored and hopeless despite all the blessings, maybe it’s time to shift the focus from the “self” to something greater, bigger than yourself.

Frankl encouraged his fellow prisoners to look for something good, even a memory of a beautiful picture, and to look forward to something. He also encouraged them to look after each other and help prevent suicide. In Frankl’s case, the thought that he would someday be reunited with his wife, father, mother, and brother who were in separate camps helped him find hope. He also recreated a book manuscript using scraps of paper stolen by a fellow prisoner. After three years, Frankl was saved, but he learned that his wife, his father, mother, and brother died in the camps.

Even a miserable situation can be survived if people find enough meaning in their suffering and despite the suffering. “We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way,” says Frankl.

Is your situation miserable? What is the best option for you?

Find meaning in your suffering. Hold on to what is good and beautiful. Look forward to something that you value – anything that will make you want to survive, as you trust in God and do what you can to make the situation change. You are here for a reason. Live your purpose. Strive to find hope and meaning in spite of the difficulties. Yes, you can!


Like and share this column to inspire and equip more people!

Marilyn Arayata: inspirational author, columnist, speaker, and former DLSU-D faculty, your partner in preventing bullying, depression, and suicide. E-mail Like the Hope Boosters Facebook Page for nuggets of hope and inspiration.

Always read TEMPO for articles that inform, inspire, and equip!

*All rights reserved.



Repel Toxic People – Anti-Bullying Advocate, Depression and Suicide Prevention Speaker

118 Y3 Marilyn Arayata_Repel toxic people

Inspirational Author, Bullying, Depression and Suicide Prevention Advocate

Yes, you can! – Inspirational Author, Columnist and Speaker Marilyn Arayata


#YesYouCan  #InspireandEquip Tempo/Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp., Feb. 5, 201784-y2-yes-you-can-marilyn-arayata

Inspirational Author, Columnist and Speaker Philippines


Inspirational Author, Columnist and Speaker – Philippines


Love them now

*First appeared in my column, INSPIRE AND EQUIP! (Tempo/Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp.), Oct. 30, 2016

How can I forget the fuming woman with kids who had to wait for an available shopping mall stroller for the elderly? She said in a loud voice, “Sumama-sama pa kasi! Ipapasyal ko lang naman ang mga ito! Umuwi na tayo!”  I wondered if she was referring to her own parent, or an in-law. Whatever the answer, I am sure of one thing – her kids will become (Heaven forbid) just like her!

How do you treat or label old people, including your own parents – especially when nobody is looking?

I have seen and heard of people who sacrificed almost everything for their children – only to be told (verbally, nonverbally, or both) when they are old, sickly, clumsy, and penniless – that they have become such a burden. What could be more heartbreaking than the fact that many of them have chosen to live like nomads or paupers even if they have families capable of caring for them?

According to reports, there is an increasing number of Filipino elderly who are forced to stay in homes for the aged. Foreign media have exposed the cruelties committed by a few employees of nursing homes abroad. You have also probably heard of similar stories from Filipino caregivers working in other countries. Even if such stories are “isolated” and unknown to the majority of old people, I can not see how Filipinos who lived practically for their families can even imagine themselves being “thrown” in such institutions. In our culture, senior citizens are valued and respected. Have the times changed?

For people who can not boast of anything but their children and grandchildren… for people in their twilight years, I think the mere idea of living in a home for the aged is a nightmare. Maybe they think protesting is useless, but their silence does not mean they agree to it.

Are you pressured, irritable, and tired due to the rising demands of caring for your children and your aging parents? Look for trustworthy relievers so you can have some time for yourself. Ask your relatives to do their share. Financial support is important and is appreciated, but it is not enough.

The Lord is pleased when He sees that you care about the elderly. No one else can take of your parents the way loving relatives do.  They need you now. Remember, they never gave up on loving you. Love them now!

These are lines from a poem by Ali Ben Abu Tabb: “Love me now while I am living/Do not wait ‘til I am gone; and then chisel it in marble – warm love words on ice-cold stone”!

(Marilyn Arayata: inspirational author and speaker, your partner in preventing bullying, depression, and suicide. E-mail Like and share this column. Like the Hope Boosters Facebook Page, too!)


Inspirational Speaker – Philippines


Anti-Bullying, Depression and Suicide Speaker, Author and Columnist

inspirational-speaker-author-and-columnist-philippines-marilyn-arayata_anti-bullying-depression-and-suicide-speakerInspire and Equip! (Tempo) columnist Miss Marilyn Arayata addresses the students of San Sebastian College Recoletos de Cavite (Basic Education Department) in the recently held suicide prevention and awareness seminar. Marilyn is the author of the book “Hope Boosters for Fired up Souls”. For many years, she served as faculty member of the Languages and Literature Department of De La Salle University-Dasmariñas (DLSU-D) in Cavite. Marilyn started giving inspirational seminars at the age of 23.

Preventing depression

 First appeared in my column, “Inspire and Equip!” (Tempo/Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp.) Oct. 11, 2015

Who would have thought that behind his smiles and his awesome dance movements, Gab Valenciano was, at one point, depressed and even suicidal (according to a Facebook post that was shared so many times)?

The thing with depression, it does not choose its victims – rich or poor, famous or unknown, young or old, employed or jobless. Most of the time, those who suffer from it choose to do so in silence, so without proper management and support, the suffering is prolonged and aggravated. In many cases, it even leads to suicide.

Here are some tips to help prevent depression.

  1. Get rid of negative thoughts. Just as a computer’s anti-virus program scans and separates infected files to prevent them from harming your computer, “scan” your thoughts and separate the negative to prevent them from harming your health and your well-being.
  2. Learn to accept things as they are. It is hard to cope when our ideal is shattered or when our expectations are not met by other people. We have no choice but to accept that life is not perfect and not everybody is perfect. Resisting this reality will lead to severe loneliness and may complicate matters.
  3. Do something relaxing or productive instead of worrying about the future. If we’ll rely on our limited strength, we will be disappointed, but if we’ll entrust our future in the hands of our all-powerful and all-knowing Creator, things will become bearable.
  4. Increase your social interaction. Isolating yourself when you are lonely will only make you lonelier! Take time to enjoy conversations with people who radiate positive energy.
  5. Focus on something that makes you happy – a hobby, a show, a mission, or a project. Devote more time in a meaningful activity so you won’t have time and energy for depressing concerns anymore.
  6. Eat nuts, fruits and vegetables – peanut, cashew, corn, mango, banana, and broccoli that help increase the neurotransmitter called serotonin, “a naturally occurring chemical that can influence mood and appetite” (
  7. Make physical activities like playing, swimming, exercising, biking, or dancing a part of your daily routine. These activities give endorphins, the happy hormone.
  8. Let go of the things you lost and the relationships that have ended. You already had them and enjoyed them. Nothing is permanent. Show the world a brave, new you and be open to new things.

There will always be disappointments, worries, stressors, and heartaches. Do everything in your power to cope.

Although it is possible to recover from depression, strive to prevent it. Also, make it a habit to scatter seeds of encouragement. Who knows if the person next to you is just like Gab in the past who appeared happy, successful, and rich but hiding depression and suicidal thoughts!

Like and share this article to help happy-looking people who suffer in silence.

Find more tips on preventing depression. Get a copy of my book, “Hope Boosters for Fired up Souls”, available at selected branches of National Book Store and Pandayan Bookshop.


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