Guest Author - Tracy Hamilton
The mind is a curious thing. It seems to work differently for each of us depending on the thoughts and beliefs that we have. I know that having negative thoughts will affect my day negatively, while positive thoughts will affect me positively.
That might sound very simplistic, then you look at books like The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne, which tell us that it is how we think and feel that affects our lives, and we then experience that as a reflection of the things either in our life or perceived to be missing from it.
I’m not sure how that translates for someone who is experiencing depression or long term challenges that keep negative thoughts and emotions alive. Is there no joy ever in their life? Is there room to even think in a positive way with such a negative force at play? Does that condemn them to be in a negative state forever?
From listening to clients and friends who have experienced depression, the whole period is not completely void of any times of joy, laughter, and feeling good in any way; even if it is just fleeting. There seems to be an apathy that runs deep and creates everything as meaningless or without a point, making it challenging to take the steps to come out of the depressive cycle they are caught in.
I know that I am a naturally happy person and see the positives in everything. I see life as being full of experiences that are bringing me something positive; no matter how it appears in the moment. There is always a gift in our greatest suffering or darkest moments.
That’s not to say that I do not experience ‘down’ times where I feel fed up or unhappy in someway. Is it not just the natural cycle of life that creates these down times? Life is not lived in a constant state or in a constant feeling so the nature of life is to change, and we are all affected by the changes. The only thing we can potentially do is decide how we deal with it.
This may not feel like a decision in the moment, or even that you have the choice to make a decision; especially when you are prone to predominantly negative experiences or thoughts.
I do however believe that like attracts like and that we can influence what is attracted to us, I also think there is something else at play too. There is a danger to feel worse and even more dejected when we start blaming ourselves for our ‘bad’ feelings and therefore the ‘bad’ things in our lives.
We have to remember that the ‘good’ things are still there in our life and all around us, it is just that we do not always When you are caught in negativity, positive things are not in your consciousness because you are always looking for the negative things; making the positives more difficult to see.
Having a gratitude journal can help to come out of depression and apathy. Even if there is nothing in your life that you feel grateful for, start with the small things. Try to find gratitude for the clothes you have to wear, that you are alive, that life always brings opportunities for change. Doing this helps to keep positive thoughts alive in your mind so they are more in your awareness and consciousness; even in the dark times.