The first step in healing depression is to be willing to change. Not wanting to change, but willing to change. This opens you up to cutting out things you don’t need in your life and putting more good things in. To help your mind get started with this I find this morning affirmation from Gabrielle Bernstein helpful:
“Today I am willing to see things differently. Today I am willing to change my mind. I know a simple shift in perception will create a miraculous shift. I know change is what I need. I surrender, I am willing, I am ready to see love. Inner Guide (Universe, God, Higher Self, Azna, etc) show me what you’ve got. Show me the way.”
To help you throughout the day Gabrielle suggest saying this:
“I am willing to see this differently. I am willing to see love.”
It’s a great affirmation that has saved my mind from going in the wrong direction. I also find it useful to set an alarm in my phone with this affirmation.
Try it for a few weeks or more and let your mind see things differently.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
– Oprah Winfrey
When depression hits us hard, it’s difficult to think of anything we should be grateful for. Yet attempting to find things we are grateful for is now scientifically proven to improve happiness, even for those who suffer from severe depression.
“Severely depressed people instructed to list grateful thoughts on a website daily were found to be significantly less depressed by the end of the study when compared to depressed people who weren’t asked to express gratitude. And we know that depression is a significant risk factor for disease.” –Dr. Lissa Rankin
Being grateful can improve our outlooks on life, create a better atmosphere in and out of our homes, improve relationships with others and ourselves, can decrease negative feelings, help us cope with stress, and well, simply improve the quality of our overall lives.
Finding a few things a day is simple enough, but the challenge is to keep at it. Researchers say that it takes 40 days to change different how some parts of your brain works. Thus, after 40 days of working at being grateful, your brain is newly rewired to think thoughts of gratefulness more easily.
Here are some ideas to build gratefulness into your day:
- Have a gratitude journal and write 3 or more things you are grateful for every day. It might be helpful to have the journal next to somewhere you sit all the time.
- Make a gratitude list. If you struggle with journaling get out piece of blank paper, write “I’m Thankful For…” at the top, and then write the dates and/or days of the week (you can make it quick by just writing M for Monday, T for Tuesday, etc) for the next 40 days, leaving space to write a few things you are grateful for every day. While this is very similar to journaling, having all the dates/ days already written on paper may encourage you to write something down each day.
- Have a gratitude board. This can be a chalkboard, a white eraser board you have on your fridge, etc. Writing down what you are thankful for on board will help you remember what you were grateful for throughout the day. If you’re looking to improve your family life, try having your family write what they are grateful for before dinner.
- Simply make a commitment to say to yourself what you are grateful for each day. While this is the easiest thing to do, it’s also easy to forget to do it. If you try this and forget a day, hang a sign for yourself in spot you are sure to see every day that says “I’m grateful for…”.
- If you have someone you’re grateful for, it can be very powerful to tell them so. For some, this will make you nervous, but keep in mind you will improve someone else’s day and their self-worth as well as your own.
- Read 30 Days of Gratitude by Julie Boyer. This book aims to not only help you find things to be grateful for, but to help you build a better, more abundant life based on gratitude.
Thought it might be challenging, even on your darkest day you can find something to be grateful for. It can be for something as simple as reading this because it means you at least have the strength to try and improve your life, which you can and will as long as you keep that little bit of hope alive.
Check out my personal blog to read how stress can hurt the body: http://sandinypaver.blogspot.com/2013/12/how-stress-can-hurt-your-body.html
It’s that time of year again where the sun disappears early and darkness comes fast.
Because of this, even people who are normally happy can feel more down than usual. For those with depression, things can seem even harder. This is the result of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). While it’s not possible to make the sun stay out longer, it is possible to do a few small things to help lessen or eliminate the effects of SAD.
1) Take vitamin D3. If possible, take a natural and chewable D3 vitamin and place it under your tongue for best absorption. Many experts suggest that most people are deficient in vitamin D3, so adding more D3 might be just what you need. An added bonus is that vitamin D3 is good for your immune system and your heart.
2) Try light therapy. Light therapy uses high fluorescent lights that help mimic natural sunlight and is said to benefit your mood by affecting brain chemicals. Many people have had great benefits from using light therapy. There are light therapy lamps, boxes, light bulbs, etc., so just do a quick internet search to find what would be best for you and where you can get it.
3) Exercise. If you don’t already exercise regularly, start! Even if it’s a 15 minute walks outside (more sunlight to your day = more D3!) on your lunch break, that will do. Exercise leads to better sleep and releases endorphins that increase your mood, and both of these things help fight SAD.
Exercising outdoors is an added bonus since being in nature has healing benefits.
Is there something that you do to help ward off SAD? Please share in the comment box below.
I know it can be hard to think that anything good can come from depression. How can anything good come from something that seems to take make the beautiful things in life not beautiful? Though I loathe those moments where nothing seems beautiful, I have still managed to find depression’s hidden gifts that I hope to hold on to even when my depression is long gone.
One of these gifts (yes there are a few), is the ability to understand others and consider when other people may be going through struggles even when they appear fine. If you have not started using this special gift, I suggest you start now. It is a precious gift for it gives us the ability to console, connect, and care for all people. From the people we know who seem to have it all to that person we don’t know sitting at a different table at a restaurant, we understand that they too might feel as deeply as we do. We might even be able to catch when someone says something they don’t mean out of their own problems, or tell if a person is upset even when they are trying to hide it. We know that “I’m fine” really means “I’m not doing well” or “I wish I was doing better.” If we allow ourselves to open up just a bit, we open the possibility of making a connections with someone else, as well as helping someone else. In turn, we help ourselves. It’s a beautiful cycle.
A note from the book Kitchen Cures by Peggy Kotsopoulos:
“Stimulants such as sugar, alcohol, and caffeine can create blood-sugar imbalances, which can lead to depression. Too much caffeine can deplete the body of vitamin B6, a crucial nutrient required for the production of our “happy” transmitter, serotonin. As well, blood sugar imbalance prevents the absorption of tryptophan in the intestine, which impedes the production of dopamine and serotonin.”
This doesn’t mean to cut all sugar, alcohol, and caffeine out, but to limit our intake. For instance, try to only drink one cup of coffee a day. If you need another pick me up in the day try eating a banana or making veggie/fruit smoothie.
Is there something you are experiencing that is making it hard for you to heal your depression?
If something is coming to mind, I found out a great tool is to just ask yourself what you can do to help this aspect of your life improve. You can do this by writing questions down and answering them or you can try using heart therapy.
To try heart therapy, all you do is place your hands on your heart and start asking it questions. When doing this you may feel the beating of your heart more than usual. If this is something you’d like to try, remember your heart normally responds with simple, honest, and kind answers. If you’re not experiencing answers like this, your head is doing the responding, not your heart.
The reason I’m suggesting this is because the practice of asking yourself simple questions has been coming up in a lot of the books and videos I have been watching. Most recently, I’ve been reading Mind Over Medicine (no, I didn’t get name of this website from the book) and it tells of instances where Dr. Lissa Rankin simply ask patients what they can do to feel better, even when they come to her with physical illnesses. (Basically, her patients write their own prescriptions while she is just there to guide them.) Most patients, instead of saying they need prescription medicines, end up saying things like “I need to take care of myself better”, “I need to find a less stressful job”, “I need to be more honest with my husband”, etc.. This means two things. It means that most people already know what will make them physically and mentally feel better and it means that if we aren’t dealing with what’s making us unhappy, physical problems can occur. It’s why many people often go to the doctor saying something is wrong but the doctor can’t find a problem.
In short, the mind is powerful and we need to acknowledge that. If we are honest with ourselves, we already know things we can do to feel better and solve our problems. If we ignore our minds, things can mentally and physically get worse.
This might not completely heal your depression, but it can lead to breakthroughs if you give it a good shot.
While my depression continues to get better, there has been something holding me back from really making a huge bound: TALKING.
Sure, I can type out most of my feelings on here, but when it comes to the point where I should be expressing my feelings to a loved one, I struggle. Many times I have felt a physical pressure in my chest and throat when I cannot bring myself to say the things I should. This drags on negative feelings and makes me feel like I’m squirming in my skin. I realized this was a major problem ages ago, yet I still couldn’t open my mouth to say what I really needed to.
Finally, I saw that not talking was like putting a gun to the head of a relationship that meant the world to me. Because of not speaking up about my deepest feelings, I risked losing something that is worth almost everything. From the fear of losing someone I love, I got the strength to help me get past my fear of talking. The first moment this happened, I could feel my chest get a little lighter.
Not everything is solved from this right away. I know I’ll struggle with this for quite some time. However, I hope that I always get the courage to talk when I realize relationships matter more than my fear of talking. As time goes on, I know talking will get easier, and with that healing my depression will get much easier.
If you have something that you know is holding you back from making a breakthrough in healing your depression I’ll have a post tomorrow offering some suggestions.