5 Reasons You're Not Powerless Over Depression
If you have struggled with depression for any length of time, you have no doubt acquired certain beliefs about your depression. For example:
You have depression, which causes low feelings and therefore painful thoughts.
You are powerless over depression.
That it’s a chemical imbalance and therefore out of your control.
That you will likely always be suffering from Depression.
If you have taken on any of these beliefs, then I want you to keep reading. In this week’s blog, I’m going to tell you 5 reasons why you are not powerless over your depression.
1. You can control your feelings:
One of the first things I tell all of my clients is that we have been taught depression backward. We are told that our depression leads to low feelings and as a result of these low feelings we have painful thoughts, disturbed functioning, and low moods. Here’s the good news…that is simply not the truth. We are not at the mercy of difficult feelings. We have painful thoughts first that cause our painful feelings. Our emotions are actually a wonderful guidance system that let us know that we are telling ourselves something that is causing us pain. Thoughts come first and feelings come next. Change your thoughts, and you will start feeling better. That is, of course, oversimplified, because our thoughts are quite often subconscious and we’re not even aware that we are telling ourselves something that is causing the pain. However, the first step in healing from depression is to start understanding that if you are feeling pain, it’s because you are telling yourself something that is not true and your inner being is lessened by it. That is the root cause of your depressed emotions.
2. You are the master of your thoughts:
Once you start recognizing that you are telling yourself something that is causing you pain, the work becomes changing your inner dialogue. To accomplish this, you have to be mindful of your inner dialogue. Spend some time each day checking in with how you are feeling and what it is you are telling yourself to cause that particular feeling. If you are feeling happy, what is your inner dialogue? If you are depressed, what is your inner dialogue? By deliberately changing our predominant thoughts to empowering thoughts, you will eventually turn the tide of negative thinking and start creating new currents in your brain of positive and uplifting thoughts.
3. You can change your brain chemicals:
Again, we have been told that our depression is a chemical imbalance and as such, we are powerless over it. Yes, our brain may be marinading in chemicals that have us feeling depressed, but we can change that once we understand how the chemicals and thoughts are connected. Neuroscience in the last few years has proven that our brains can re-wire themselves. Our chemicals are released in response to our thoughts. Think a negative thought, and the appropriate chemical is released. Each time you think the same negative thought, the same chemicals are released again. Pretty soon your body becomes habituated to those chemicals, and even the slightest thought will cause the same flood of chemicals. Before long, your body responds chemically before the thought has even fully formed. That is how depression becomes habitual, and a chemical imbalance is created.
4. A belief is not the truth:
If you have suffered from depression long enough, you have started believing that you are helpless to it. In times that you are feeling good, you wait for the other shoe to drop. In times that you feel depressed, you are hopeless to turning it around. It becomes a vicious cycle of limiting and false beliefs. A belief is merely a story you have been telling yourself over and over again. You can turn the story around. Start telling yourself a new story until it becomes your new belief. Say to yourself: I am not powerless over depression. I may not yet know how to change it but I believe that I can. Each time you catch yourself thinking painful thoughts use this new mantra.
5. Joy can be learned:
I used to believe that I was missing some joy DNA. I was sure of it. I would watch other girls in High School and College and think, I would never be able to reach that level of happiness. I just did not feel like that was part of my makeup. The truth is that we are all born inherently joyful. Depending on the joy levels in our home of origin, we have a joy set point that feels comfortable to us, but it can be raised. Depending on our life circumstances and difficulties, our inherent joy is often covered up by decades of false beliefs, painful thoughts, and low emotion. The great news is that once you start healing from depression, you can regain the level of joy that is your inherent birthright.