Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or psychologist. If you are suffering from depression, talk to your physician or mental healthcare provider before stopping any medications or applying the following techniques.
Depression is one of the most common and potentially debilitating mental afflictions people deal with. The curious thing is, it is astonishingly easy to combat. While psychologists have sought to cure depression by analyzing their patients’ pasts, and chemists have spent billions trying to find the right chemical cocktail, spiritualists have held the real prescription for depression for thousands of years. Furthermore, the remedy is free, easy to apply, and provides instantaneous relief. This is not a trick or a play on words meant to grab your attention. It is absolutely true. If you suffer from depression, I have an answer for you. Read on…
First, you need to understand the primary causes of chronic depression. There are just a few big ones:
- Depression is caused by a sense of meaninglessness. If you believe your life is meaningless, who wouldn’t be depressed? Meaninglessness implies emptiness, a lack of joy, a void of enthusiasm for life. It is an inherently depressing state. The answer: If you feel that your life lacks meaning, you must strive to find what it is you were meant to contribute to this world—your passion. Serving your passion will bring you joy, and will fill that empty space of meaninglessness with meaning. Even the effort to discover your passion can ease the symptoms of depression.
- Depression is caused by sacrificing. That’s right. Whenever there is something that you want, and that you believe you cannot have, you will feel depressed. This is why dieters and recovering addicts get depressed. Sacrificing leads to a negative state of mind, and a perceived lack of fulfillment. There is really no way around this, and it is true even if what you are “sacrificing” is harmful to you. The answer: Either stop sacrificing or change your mind about what you want. If what you want is inherently harmful (a drug addiction, for instance, that is causing you problems), then you need to find a way to convince yourself that another “fix” is not what you really want. You must come to a clear awareness of the pain the addiction is causing you, and make a conscious choice that you do not want pain. Once you realize the choice for continuing your addiction is really a choice for pain, you will no longer want it and you will no longer be depressed.
- Depression is caused by holding grievances, anger, and guilt. Negative thoughts lead to negative feelings. This is no mystery. Yet it is amazing that so few people understand this connection. Your mind is incredibly powerful, and if you are thinking negative thoughts about yourself or others you are bound to become depressed. The answer: Become aware of your thinking patterns, and realize the immense impact your thoughts have on your feelings. Then work every day to reprogram the way you think. If you want to do away with depression, you have to transform your mind. This might sound difficult, but it gets easier as you go along and the procedure reinforces itself. Instead of dwelling on grievances, become determined to focus on forgiveness. Gradually transform yourself into a compassionate, loving person who is slow to judge and quick to forgive. Train yourself to look for what is right in your life instead of what is wrong. Give more to others and ask less from them. Be open hearted, big hearted. And, above all else, be kind. The closer you come to being this ideal person, the less depressed you will be. Also, understand that mastering your mind is not necessary to experience some relief from the symptoms of depression. Each step in the right direction will clear away some of the darkness.
- Depression is caused by focusing on the past. Here we come to the ultimate cause of depression. Depressed people invariably spend a lot of time living in the past. They dwell on past grievances, past hurts, past guilt, but even dwelling on pleasant past memories can be depressing because it removes you from the joy of the present; furthermore, those “good old days” are forever gone and can never be restored. What a depressing thought! The answer: Present moment mindfulness. Mindfulness is a tool everyone should learn. It is better and more effective than any medication at alleviating depression as well as all other forms of emotional suffering. The next time you are feeling depressed or not at peace, regardless of the cause, stop, find a place to sit down and become quiet for a few minutes. Close your eyes, and tune into your breathing. Just feel the air enter into your lungs, and then mentally notice it as it exits. Try to experience the rhythm of your breathing directly, without thinking. I mean really feel it. Forget about the past, forget about everything you need to get done in the next hour, days, weeks … and rest in the safety and tranquility of the moment. If thoughts occur to you, try to see them as if they were passing clouds, moving across the sky of your mind. Let them come and let them go, and all the while train your attention on your breath, on the here and now.
The more present you become, the more your symptoms of depression will abate–guaranteed! Present moment mindfulness is the real cure for depression, and it always works, instantly. If you’ve never tried it, give it a chance. It’s the one remedy few doctors and pharmacists will ever tell you about, and it doesn’t cost you a penny. It’s free, it’s real, it’s no mystery, and it REALLY works.