Tag Archives: Winning the battle over depression

Winning the Battle Over Depression – Part VII – Overcoming Anxiety Through Gratitude

I have a challenge for you if you have the courage to stomach it: When convenient for you, I want you to take an alarm clock, go down to the morgue, find a dead body, set off the alarm clock, and watch to see if the dead body comes back to life!

While I secretly hope you decide not to take on my challenge, I hope you thought about why I would ever ask you to do such a thing in the first place! It is because I want you to know that it is not your alarm clock or your body that wakes you up in the morning. Thousands of people die in their sleep daily. That you and I woke up today is a gift from our Maker.

Life is a gift you must open

I suspect that when you receive a gift, you usually thank the person that gave you the gift. So I ask you this: When was the last time you opened your eyes and truly thanked the Maker for giving you another day. Unlike the thousands of people who never wake up, you have another opportunity to take the gift of life and see what it has to offer.

The gift of life is like a fertile piece of land

Life is like a piece of fertile land…whatever you plant in it grows. Life takes your seeds of thoughts, desires, attitude, and actions, and gives it right back to you multiplied many times over but in a different form. Therefore, to understand what you are getting from life requires that you uncover the seeds that you are planting.

If you are like me, you plant both good and bad seeds and so reap both good and bad fruit. While it is crucial to understand the nature of the bad seeds you have sown (perhaps through counselling, therapy, and self-reflection), do not underestimate the value in deliberately choosing to sow good seeds.

Your real challenge is to plant so much good seed that it overshadows and dwarfs the bad seed

One of the best seeds to plant is gratitude. When you plant it, you reap the fruit of peace of mind and favor with men. Peace because gratitude short-circuits worry by changing your minds focus from what is wrong to what is right. Favor because gratitude communicates humility. Since humility is honored in the right circles, it has the potential to lift you out of the very muck that may be causing your anxiety in the first place. Thus, gratitude has the ability to control your anxiety and to lift away anxiety by helping to change your circumstance.

So how do you grow in gratitude? An effective way is purposefully keep in mind that there are people in the world who would gladly take on our troubles any day. If you have doubts about this, just go to http://www.globalissues.org and read the poverty stats.

There is a lot for you to be thankful for today, so give thanks.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend

 – Melody Beattie

 

 

 

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Winning the Battle Over Depression – Part V – Overcoming Anxiety Through Perspective

The only thing you sometimes have control over is perspective. You don’t have control over your situation. But you have a choice over how you view it – Chris Pine

Perspective is everything when you are facing the challenges of life – Joni Eareckson Tada

I once designed an experiment with my friends that involved a half filled cup of water. My objective to see to see how many people would consider the cup half full and how many would consider it half empty.

So I decided to split my friends into two groups of four – a blue group and a green group. Next, I set up meetings with each person in the two groups over the course of a month.

When meeting with those in the blue group, I kept the cup empty at the start of our meeting and then filled up the cup five minutes before I had to leave and then asked if they considered the cup half full or half-empty.

With the green group, I kept the cup full at the start of our meeting. Then I drank half the water in the cup five minutes before leaving, and asked if they considered the cup half full or half-empty.

The result: 3 out of 4 people in the blue group considered the cup half full. 3 out of 4 people in the green group considered the cup half empty.

When I asked the people in the blue group why they saw the cup as half full, they said the cup was previously empty and now it was half full. When I asked the people in the green group why they saw the cup as half empty, they said the cup was previously full and now it wasn’t. It seemed both the blue and green group looked at the current state of the cup through the lens of the previous state of the cup.

Like those in the blue and green group, our perspective of our current state is highly dependent on our previous experience.

For example, a girl who has only ever slept on a memory foam mattress may see having to downgrade to a spring mattress as a shocker and so experience a measure of anxiety over the situation. This is like going from the glass being half full to half empty.

On the other hand, a girl who has only ever slept on a thin mat may see going to a spring mattress as fantastic development and so experience a measure of happiness. This is like going from the glass being empty to being half full.

The key to developing a well rounded perspective is to subject ourselves to a myriad of experiences that range from the cup being empty to the cup being full

If you have only had full cup experiences, you should design a controlled experiment where you see an empty cup.

Many times, we get depressed when things are not the way we think or expect them to be. What perspective does is change the way we think or expect them to be. The more variety we experience, the more well-rounded our perspective. The more well-rounded our perspective, the less likely we are to be anxious or depressed over a particular situation.

Our experiences change our perspective and our perspective change our expectations 

So give yourself the gift of perspective today. Go down to the homeless shelter. Listen to the story of a person whose life has been ravaged by drugs. Watch the story of a single who went from rags to riches.

You must do these things for it to really sink in. Knowing that there are people out that have it worse than you won’t be as effective.

Know that it will not always be the way it is today.

Things do and will change.

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