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8 Awards Anyone With Depression Deserves To Receive

8 Awards Anyone With Depression Deserves To Receive

Unless you have spent the majority of your life isolated from others, the chances are you will have regularly encountered people with depression. After all, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that 16 million American adults suffered with depression in 2012 alone, while a further 350 million instances are recorded across the globe each year.

Despite this, depression remains the subject of numerous misconceptions, as people fail to understand its severity and continue to consider happiness as a choice. In fact, those who suffer from depression are bound by their emotions and forced to display considerable resilience in the face of their illness, while also coping with the ignorance of others.

8 Awards that People with Depression Truly Deserve to Win

So, let’s explore the struggles that people with depression face on a daily basis, while beginning to understand the awards they deserve for coping in the face of such adversity:

1. They Deserve an Award for their Tenacity

Clearly, people who suffer with depression are required to display considerable tenacity. This usually manifests itself in a desire to find a purpose in life, while they are also inclined to pursue self-improvement at every available opportunity. This is because they are driven by internal feelings of inadequacy and fear, while their desire to compensate for often intangible voids in their life mean that they are constantly fighting to find a rewarding purpose.

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There are certainly ample opportunities for growth out their, from apprenticeships and courses of higher education to more unorthodox outlets such as a drive to learn scholarship. Those with depression will continue to seek out such opportunities with incredible determination, no matter how many times they may fail to find what they are looking for.

2. They Deserve an Award for their Compassion

Despite the misgivings of some, depression is an illness that disrupts nerve cells in the brain and alters thinking patterns. It therefore changes outlooks, making those who suffer with depression more capable of identifying sadness in others while showcasing support and compassion in equal measure.

This also taps into the fact that those who are depressed typically have an outward perspective, as they focus on helping others rather than channelling their own feelings of sadness and anxiety. Such an approach benefits others, however, especially those who are suffering from similar issues.

3. They Deserve an Award for their Consideration of Others

It is easy to see a smiling face and take this as a sign of internal happiness, but this is just one of the misconceptions that betray people who suffer with depression. In fact, these individuals often make a concerted and intentional effort to appear happy and upbeat, especially as they learn to deal with their condition and develop coping mechanisms.

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While those with depression may have learned how to alter their mood when out in public, however, they are more likely to display their real feelings when alone. This suggests that their happy and upbeat visage is created for the benefit of others, so that friends, colleagues and loved ones are not adversely affected.

4. They Deserve an Award for their levels of Creative Expression

While depression is a variable illness that affects different personality types in numerous ways, there are some universal themes that unite most sufferers. It is believed that those who are depressed become more profound and creative thinkers, for example, as they ruminate on their thoughts and consider even abstract topics in greater depth. This is a great amplifier of depression, and the link between this and creative expression remains exceptionally strong.

This is reflected by the fact that many life-changing artists and musicians have suffered with depression, as their emotional angst has helped to fuel incredibly creative images, sculptures and songs. Many of these individuals have won countless awards for their creative output, and this is one prize that sufferers deserve to be credited with.

5. They Deserve an Award for their ability to cope with Morbid Thoughts

While such depth of thought can trigger profound greatness, it can also trigger morbid feelings and an obsession with death. Certainly those with depression have complex thought processes in relation to life and death, as they develop an involved perception of the two and are constantly forced to confront dark and hopeless mind-sets.

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Whether they have suffered from suicidal thoughts or not, those with depression regularly consider their own mortality and existence in the world. Such musings can become increasingly frequent depending on each individuals’ life circumstances, and learning to cope with these on a regular basis requires incredible inner strength and durability.

6. They Deserve an Award for Managing Irregular Sleep Patterns

As if such dark and contrasting mind-sets were not enough to cope with, those with depression must also learn to manage irregular sleeping patterns. More specifically, they tend to suffer from excesses of sleep, as they either spend to much time resting or fail to get any shut-eye at all. Such irregular cycles can have a negative impact on our mental health, creating a debilitating cycle where the symptoms of depression can be exacerbated.

This also robs people who are depressed from one of the few things that they can control, which is the ability to dictate their own sleeping pattern. Given this and the impact of irregular cycles, those with depression must be praised for their strong coping skills.

7. They Deserve an Award for their levels of Patience

Depression is a unique illness in more ways than one, but it is most unusual in so much that it is sufferers that usually need to support their friends and loved ones. After all, while those who suffer with depression are usually in tune with their feelings and able to develop coping mechanisms, those close to us are hamstrung by a lack of understanding the complex manifestation of symptoms.

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This means that people with depression must showcase incredible levels of patience, as they look to communicate with their loved ones and help them to understand their feelings. Otherwise, they run the risk of undermining even long-standing friendships and isolating themselves from people who simply can’t comprehend certain behaviours.

8. They Deserve an Award for their Outward Focus

We have already touched on the fact that people with depression are constantly seeking out a higher purpose in life, and this is part of an outward focus that can create significant value. This is best embodied by the great Abraham Lincoln, who fought clinical depression all of his life and sought to change this by turning to the greater cause of emancipation and the abolishment of slavery.

So not only can such an outward focus help depressed individuals to find a fulfilling purpose in life, but it can also benefit their loved ones and the world around them. This is truly rewarding, and something that deserves genuine merit.

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • They rile up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

The Bottom Line

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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