“Our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as being able to remake ourselves.” ~Gandhi
For a majority of my life, I struggled with depression and anxiety. I’d sometimes go for weeks without leaving my house or communicating with friends and family.
Like most people, my mind would race a mile a minute with depressive and anxious thoughts:
“Why couldn’t my life be better?”
“Everyone else has more fun and a better life than me.”
“I should be like this or that.”
“If only I had a little more money…”
Then, my world collapsed. I lost my job, my girlfriend, and a large chunk of friends, all at once. The questions and doubts crept in and kept swirling around my head for months. I was in a complete tailspin.
I was on the verge of breakthrough though; I just didn’t know it at the time.
One day, I decided I’d had enough. I put on my imaginary lab coat and got scientific.
I dissected what was triggering my depression and concluded that a major contributing factor was my inner voice.
I had to change it somehow. I needed to reorient my thoughts to be more positive.
I tried a bunch of different things: reading books, going to see motivational speakers, talking with friends and family, exercising, taking vitamins, everything except drugs. But nothing worked. In most cases, they made me feel worse. I just couldn’t shake it. I needed something else.
I decided to fight fire with fire. Whenever I felt myself slipping deeper into this funk, I’d write down reasons why I shouldn’t feel that way.
And guess what? To my surprise, it worked. Really well, actually! Now, if I feel myself slipping, I think the following 20 thoughts to help me avoid falling into a funk. I hope they help you as well.
Please note that depression and anxiety isn’t something you can just talk yourself out of. While it helped me, this might not be the case for you. This is definitely not a substitute for professional help.
1. In order to have good things, there must be bad things.
Without one, the other couldn’t exist. So instead of lamenting the bad and celebrating the good, celebrate both. Celebrate the bad because it will eventually be good. And celebrate the good before it goes bad.
2. You’ll never be perfect—just like everyone else.
3. People are mean or angry or sad because they need to be at that time.
Just like a lightning bolt, it seems very intense and like it’ll last forever, but it’s only temporary.
4. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
You don’t ever want to find out what that’s like. Eventually, it’ll go full circle and turn into something bad.
5. You can’t control everything and everyone.
So why bother trying? Just flow with it. You can’t change the way things happen, but you can change your reaction to them.
6. Money and wealth are not the same.
Money can only buy stuff. Wealth is something money can’t buy. Money is fine jewelry and nice cars. Wealth is a full belly and a house full of loved ones.
7. You’re exactly where you are right now because that’s where you need to be.
You’ll only understand why in hindsight.
8. You don’t want or need to know the future.
Have you ever played a game with an inferior opponent? After a while, it’s obvious that you’re going to win every time. Then you stop playing. The same would be true if you knew the future. The fun is in the not knowing. Embrace it! Let life surprise you!
9. No one will remember the little flub you made in the office or at home earlier.
If no one else is beating you up about it, why should you?
10. Life doesn’t assault you or throw curve balls at you; you get what you give.
Think you deserve better? Give better.
11. If you don’t like someone or they don’t like you it’s because you each see yourself in them.
12. Right now, at this instant, you have everything you need to be happy: Air in your lungs, blood in your veins, and lips to smile with.
13. When things break and need mending, it gives us something to do.
14. Everyone makes mistakes.
Even people you perceive to be perfect. They’re the furthest from it.
15. Success has no standard definition.
The beautiful thing is you get to define it for yourself.
16. Life is very simple.
We just insist on complicating it.
17. You don’t need something to be happy. You need someone—and that someone is you.
18. Just like you look up to someone, someone out there looks up to you. Act accordingly.
19. There’s a lesson hidden in everything.
You just have to find it.
20. Other people have had your problems before and managed to overcome them. You can too.
I hope this helps you on your journey to becoming a more positive, whole person. Something as simple as writing down your thoughts can have a major impact on your life. It did for me.
Photo by kk+