Depression is a huge issue. It’s estimated that over 30 Million people suffer with it in the USA alone. Drug companies make billions of dollars on anti-depressant drugs, drugs that can have frightful side-effects, including death.
So, if you suffer with depression, you’re not alone. I used to have chronic depression. I know what it’s like to feel sad, overwhelmed, alone, hopeless. I lived most of my life that way. But then I kicked the habit of depression.
Yes, I said habit.
Depression was my identity by habit. My depression was the result of my focus in life, pure and simple. I’d learned as a child to focus on the negative aspects of life. As I grew, I reinforced this habit until I internalized almost everything I experienced in a negative way. The beauty, the joy, the hope, the love were there. I just couldn’t see them because I’d forgotten how.
I’d also been given strong messages that I was flawed and worthless by people who mattered to me. I believed these messages. My belief in these messages kept me on the lookout for reasons to reinforce them. When you seek evidence of something, especially a belief about your identity, you’ll find it.
Once I learned that I could change my focus, that I have the power to choose my thoughts, that I have the power to choose my life… That’s when everything changed. I took my life in my own hands. I became the captain of my life. That’s when I began experiencing the joy and love I’d denied myself for so many years.
That was over 9 years ago. Let that sink in. That means I’ve consciously lived depression free for over 9 years, without drugs and their side-effects. Depression free by choice. Cool concept isn’t it?
You can do it too.
Sure, I’ve had times when I’ve felt depressed. But I’ve never gone into a depression. When I felt sad or depressed, I understood it was a sign that something was amiss in my life. So I addressed the underlying issue and felt better.
I understand that there are some people who suffer from depression because of physiological issues—including imbalances in their brain chemistry—and some from complex psychological issues. For those people anti-depressants—whether pharmacological or natural in origin—can be a God-send. I also think this is a far smaller segment of the depressed population than we’ve been led to believe.
If You’re Suffering From Depression, Here Are a Few Natural Ways to Slay That Dragon:
Your body needs between 6 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. When you go too long without enough rest, depression can follow.
Physical exertion releases endorphins. Endorphins are natural chemicals that lift your mood. Exercise at least 3 times a week for 30 minutes.
Examine Your thoughts.
Are you focusing on negative or positive things? Every time you notice yourself having a negative thought, shift your focus and think of the positive side of the situation. Download my Cognitive Thinking Process worksheet to help you learn how to effectively shift your focus. http://bit.ly/CognitiveThinking
Count Your Blessings
Feeling gratitude shifts your attention from what’s wrong to what’s right! Also, it’s impossible to feel grateful and depressed at the same time. The two emotions cannot co-exist simultaneously. For more information on how to use gratitude in your life, click this link: http://www.rolandbyrd.co/the-true-power-of-gratitude/
Change Your Identity
Do you label yourself a depressed person? Do you normally tell people, that you trust, that you are depressed or that you suffer from depression? If so, then you’ve integrated depression into your identity.
When a behavior becomes part of your identity your subconscious mind does its best to keep you aligned with that behavior. It doesn’t judge the behavior. It doesn’t ask whether it’s good for you or not. It just thinks, This is the identity I must fulfill. And it fulfills it.
Start thinking of yourself as a happy, optimistic person. Make that your new identity. Give your subconscious mind a new set of orders. When you find yourself acting depressed, ask yourself, “How would a happy, optimistic person act?” Then act that way! Do this every time you find you’re acting or feeling depressed.
This is called acting as if. In this context it’s consciously choosing new behavior that’s healthy when you notice old, unhealthy behavior patterns. Do this long enough and the new, healthy behavior becomes your identity.
Give of Yourself
There’s nothing like giving service to others when it comes to shifting our focus from what we lack to what we have to offer. Giving of ourselves also pulls us out of the myopic view that our problems are bigger than anything else. The only time your problems are bigger than anything else is when your problems are all you’re focusing on.
Many people need help. You can always find someone to help. It doesn’t have to be something huge either. You can start with giving smiles.
Smiles are free. They’re a universal sign of greeting, acceptance, joy, and love. Smiles are contagious. They lift your mood and the mood of others.
You can also offer assistance to your neighbors. Know someone who feels overwhelmed? Offer them some help. Try it, you’ll be amazed at the difference giving makes.
This is huge. Many of us have done things we wish we hadn’t. Some of these things might have been pretty horrible. Some of them might only be horrible because we’ve made them that way by focusing on them and punishing ourselves.
Regardless of their nature, withholding forgiveness actually keeps us stuck emotionally, spiritually, often physically—when ailments manifest as a result of the stress we’re putting ourselves through.
Often the things we withhold forgiveness for are of our own making. Meaning they’re things we think we should have done differently in the past. Since we’re unhappy with the results we got, we punish ourselves. But punishing ourselves for past mistakes doesn’t help us make better choices now. To make better choices now; we must learn from the past and use those mistakes as a classroom for our future.
Forgiving ourselves doesn’t mean accepting unhealthy behavior, it means fixing what’s wrong, and then moving on with our lives. If you’re still doing the behavior that you’re not forgiving yourself for, get help! Stop that behavior! Then forgive yourself.
For more great ways to overcome depression read: Break Your Mold: The Art of Overcoming Patterns and Behaviors That Hold You Back
You Are The Master of Your Destiny!