Author of Manifestation Miracle
Depression affects way more people than we realize. Most of us will experience some form of depression during our life at one point.
Depression comes for many different reasons. We often get pulled down slowly because we experienced a string of hard events such as the death of a loved one, divorce, loss of job, financial stress, job stress, miscarriage, difficulty with kids or family members, and other big changes.
The changes can be good changes such as moving, marriage, or having a child. But stress can have physical effects.
Depression can be a chemical imbalance too, either from unknown causes or from going through all those hard events.
We often don’t know what got us so depressed. It doesn’t seem fair, and it’s hard to fix. Depression can suck people down and make it hard to reach out for help.
I have some big and powerful tips for you. Let’s start with the easiest to do and move to more bigger things.
I know you can’t wish yourself out of depression, but it can help to look in the mirror and smile at yourself. It doesn’t have to be real. Fake it. But look at yourself smiling.
Some people even say that putting a pencil in your mouth (which makes your face mimic a smile a little) can change your mood.
If you’re suffering from deep and/or chronic depression, you might not feel something with this. But it’s super easy and quick to do, and it won’t hurt you to try it.
Get Out and Get Moving
You’re probably thinking that you’ve heard and read this one already. But have you tried it? Are you getting outside more and doing something active, and hopefully with someone?
What I’m going to say next might sound scary, but hear me out: have you considered going to a friend or someone you trust, and telling them something like: “I’ve been feeling really down, and I think it would help if I had someone who would go on a walk with me every day.”
Most people don’t realize that someone around them is hurting and dealing with depression. If you have someone who will spend some time walking and talking, or even signing up for a class together, you get the double benefit of sharing with someone and getting more activity.
Take the List Challenge
We’re going to jump into a big change in the next tip by changing negative thoughts to positive ones. Before we do that, I want you to generate some positive thoughts that you can use in your life.
If you’re feeling too down or stuck to work on these, skip ahead and read “Recognize and Change Negative Thoughts” and then come back to this.
So here’s a list challenge. Do as many lists as you find helpful. Make a list of:
- All of the fun vacations you’ve taken, even if it was a 3-hour road trip
- Everything you like about yourself
- Skills you have
- Talents you have
- Experience/knowledge/job training/ party tricks you have
- Things you’re passionate about
- Good things you’ve done
- Your accomplishments
- Why your mother (Father, friend, or someone you love) likes you
- All the things you’ve overcome
- Your dreams: places to vacation, things you want
- Any and all positive things in your life
You might get inspired to make up your own list topic. The point is to find positive thoughts about yourself, your life, and your dreams again. These can be used to replace the sad and/or negative thoughts that can plague people when they’re depressed.
Recognize and Change Negative Thoughts
Think about your thoughts throughout the day…
Do you have an inner voice that constantly puts you down? Are you ripping yourself apart? And are you rehashing conversations, angry at something someone said?
Do you spend lots of time thinking about how you’re a failure?
Or do you direct your hurt and anger at others, thinking about how they have wronged you and will wrong you again?
Or are you focusing on situations and things because you’re worried and scared?
These negative thoughts feel good in a way because they get you feeling something. But they create a never-ending cycle of anger, hurt, bitterness, and more depression.
The first step in making this better is to recognize it. Try to catch yourself thinking negative thoughts. You might be surprised at how often you do it. At first, just mentally point at that thought. “Hey, that’s a negative thought.”
Next try to send those thoughts away, like brushing away clouds. Or, tell yourself, “That’s not true.”
Start replacing those negative thoughts with something positive. This is huge—you can change your thinking, your brain, and how you feel by changing what you tell yourself. Start with one simple phrase like, “I like myself.”
An important point: you do not have to believe the positive affirmations. You probably won’t at first. But you will. You’ve been filling your brain with negative things that weren’t true, but you made them true. Now you’ll fill your brain with positivity and repeat it until you believe it, and that makes it true.
So when that inner voice pops up and puts you down, interrupt your thought and instead think or say, “That’s not true. I like myself.”
Even when you’re not thinking negative things, repeat “I like myself” in your head anyway. Tell yourself good things about yourself as much as you can.
If the things on your mind are out of your control, can you let them go? Tell yourself:
- I’m done thinking (worrying) about that
- I don’t want to waste time on that anymore
- I have better things to do and think about
- I’ve done all I can on that for now, so I’m going to focus on something else right now
Replace your negative thoughts for a few days, even if you feel skeptical about this, and then see how you feel.
Make a Life Change
If you take the last tip to heart and make your thinking more positive, you’re already on your way to a huge life change. Here, I could have listed “meditate” and “be grateful” as two tips to battle depression. Instead, I’m suggesting that you make a shift in your life.
Take a look at your life and consider if you can build in more self-care. Make 5 or 10 minutes to meditate in the morning, clearing your mind, thinking positive thoughts, and finding things to be grateful for.
It’s proven to change your life if you start making a gratitude list every day. Think of big things that you’re thankful for, like your mom or friend Lisa, your dog, your new car…but also think of little things and new things to be thankful for, such as a sunny day, the flowers starting to bloom, a new bag you really love, and how they fixed the potholes on your street.
Give thanks for every and anything you can. It lifts your spirits and trains your mind to see good things.
Just as depression can become a way of life, so can choosing positivity and gratitude. Try it and see if you feel a change.
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Enjoy and have a great day.