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9 Lessons I’ve Learned Overcoming Depression That Can Help Anybody Succeed In Anything

9 Lessons I’ve Learned Overcoming Depression That Can Help Anybody Succeed In Anything

There were days where getting over depression seemed impossible. There were days when I felt good, like really good. So good I thought it was all behind me. The next day I would wonder what all went wrong and if I’d ever be able to break free from my brain.

Personally, I have broken free; for the most part. It was an interesting journey filled with dark rooms and far too many lonely nights watching Rocky.

Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way.

1. It Does Get Better

It won’t feel like it will, but it will. Trust me. Yes, I know, easier said than done. Right, I get it. Everything is easier said than done. So do it. Work on it. You can get better.

2. The Crazy Mistakes You Make Now Are OKAY

Life is one ginormous experiment. Unfortunately, in the Western World, the political experiment is not going so well. If you ever find yourself taking politics too seriously, remember that this was all made up. Human beings made it up. Kind of like how we make up the way we live.

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We are born into certain cultures, but that doesn’t mean we have to stay there. You can explore and experiment all you want. Depression can lock you into a world where nothing seems to be working and you feel stuck. That’s okay. Try and get out of it anyways. Sure, you’ll make mistakes along the way. I did. But the more you keep working on yourself and your issues, the more momentum you’ll build.

3. Barely Anybody Will Understand What You’re Going Through and That’s OKAY

Your journey through depression is probably a lot different than mine was. But I understand the emotions you’re feeling. I’ve received tons of emails from people who have related to my articles because they described how they feel.

If I had never suffered from depression, I never would have been able to truly understand what depression felt like. So, if somebody doesn’t understand what you’re going through don’t hold it against them. I know the stigma police out there get furious at anybody who doesn’t understand but, listen, it’s fine they don’t understand. It’s why I have a blog and my inbox is full. It’s a place where people can come and know they are not alone in their battles.

Treat your journey like you’re a lone wolf, but take help when it’s available to you.

4. Being Expectation-Free Isn’t Necessarily A Bad Thing

I used to approach certain books by saying, “This is the book that’s going to change my life.” Then I would be disappointed because they never did. Maybe they helped a bit, but they never left a lasting impact. Why? Because my expectations were drastically too high.

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The same thing happened when I tried different strategies to help my depression and anxiety. I would feel good about them, they would work a little, and I would believe all my troubles were behind me. Of course, they weren’t. Then I would just shut down and give up hope on that strategy.

When I started going into situations or trying strategies with zero expectations, things started changing. I made progress because I wouldn’t get so frustrated if something didn’t work and I’d just keep working at it. My emotions would stay on an even keel and not fluctuate from severe lows to severe highs. I was able to put into practice small, consistent steps of progress and if I got knocked back, it wasn’t impossible to move back forward.

5. No Matter How You Feel About Life At The Moment, It Does Matter

I’m an introspective thinker. I like to analyze. I’ve been through phases where I question everything about life, thinking none of it is actually important. I mean, we are all going to die, so what does it matter how we live? But it all does matter. Life is important. It’s the ultimate gift that’s been handed to us, so we should enjoy it.

If life didn’t matter, then the taste of homemade chocolate chip cookies wouldn’t leave any impression on us. The hug from another human being wouldn’t raise our oxytocin levels naturally. We wouldn’t smile every time we watch a nephew laughing his butt off at the weirdest things. We wouldn’t have emotions if life didn’t matter. Life matters, maybe in ways none of us can understand, but it’s here, and it’s our right to live as fully as we can and enjoy the whole experience.

6. You Will Always Be Struggling With Something; Accept That

Every single one of us wakes up everyday with our own list of problems and insecurities. So why do we attack each other so much? Because of those problems and insecurities.

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If someone doesn’t believe what you believe or doesn’t fully understand you, then leave it at that. Going after people is selfish and shows how small-minded you are.

7. When It Feels Like A Bad Situation, It Probably Is

There were plenty of nights, when I was out drinking with ‘friends’ and trying to forget about my problems. I knew it was a bad situation. I knew I had a test at 7am, and the fact that it was 1am and I still had a beer in my hand was not good.

I knew I was in bad relationships, but never changed them; kind of, just, hoped for the best. If it doesn’t feel likes it’s helping, or something or somebody is holding you back, it’s probably true. Trust your gut.

8. Don’t Try And Fit In

Fitting in may get you accepted, but it won’t get you respected by yourself. You won’t respect yourself for not being who you are. I understand you may not fully know who you are, and that’s okay. But don’t do anything or try and fit in with a group because you think it will make you happy. While it may initially, it won’t last.

I used to love watching football. Now I can barely make it through an entire game if I do watch — I usually catch maybe two games total a year. When a football conversation breaks out, I don’t try and act like I’m as enthusiastic about it as my guests. Who cares? If anybody actually cares enough to dislike you, then why are you still talking to each other? (I used to act like I enjoyed anything the person I was talking with liked, because I didn’t want them to hate me). This point, of course, goes with any subject.

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Be yourself. It will free you into a world of love and laughter that’s not masked by false feelings.

9. Don’t Put Your Faith In Anything Other Than Yourself

This is the big one. I’ve learned this while going through every job I’ve ever hated and even (somewhat) loved.

If you want to make progress and get better, the only faith that matters is the one in yourself.

Do not put your faith in other people, or a company, or a boss, or a Higher power. You can have faith towards them, but don’t put that faith in them. Hopefully they don’t let you down, but if they do, it can be devastating if you believed they were the answer to your problems.

You are the only person who matters on this journey out of depression. Believe in yourself. That’s the only type of faith that matters.

More by this author

Daniel CJ Grant

Daniel is the author of "Notes from a Failure". He writes about failure and success.

6 Ways to Be a Successful Risk Taker and Take More Chances Notes From A Failure: 5 Unusual Ways To Handle Failure 3 Unique Ways To Enjoy The Present Moment 9 Lessons I’ve Learned Overcoming Depression That Can Help Anybody Succeed In Anything 10 Vintage Things You Can Do Right Now to Be Awesome

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Last Updated on January 16, 2020

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

The way you feel about yourself greatly influences how you live and interact with others. If you are confident about yourself, you tend to see yourself positively and actually enjoy spending time with and around people. You don’t feel self-conscious or awkward around others, and that allows you to live your fullest and happiest life.

However, if you’re drowning in a sea of self-doubt, hesitancy and shyness, you often withdraw and isolate yourself from others and avoid interacting and connecting with people. That anxiety you feel in the pit of your stomach when you are around people is holding you back greatly and it is not good for your emotional health and overall well-being. You need to do something about it if you are low in self-confidence or have friends or family members who are not confident.

“Confidence isn’t walking into a room thinking you’re better than everyone, it’s walking in not having to compare yourself to anyone” – Anonymous

Here are simple, practical tips to boost your confidence right now and make you feel and act your best.

1. Stop labeling yourself as awkward, timid or shy.

When you label yourself as awkward, timid or shy, you sub-consciously tell your mind to act accordingly and psychologically feel inclined to live up to those expectations. Instead of labeling and entertaining negative self-talk, visualize and affirm yourself as confident and strong. Close your eyes for a minute and visualize yourself in different situation as you would like to be.

Be your own cheerleader. Experts believe that positive affirmation and good mental practices like picturing yourself winning or achieving a goal can lead to greater feelings of self-assurance and prepare your brain for success.[1] As the saying goes, “seeing is believing.” Picture yourself as confident and soon enough you will begin to manifest behavior that gives evidence to this new ‘fact.’

2. Recognize that the world is not focused on you (unless, of course, you are Kanye West).

That means you don’t have to be excessively sensitive about who you are or what you are doing (or not doing). You are not on the center stage; there is no need for preoccupation with self and perfectionism. As rap music star Rocko sings, “You just do you and I will do me, aight?”

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Forget about trying to please everyone or being perfect. Trying to be perfect and being a people-pleaser puts too much pressure on you and creates unnecessary anxiety. Besides, people are too preoccupied with their own issues to pay much attention to your every move unless, of course, you are a mega famous, super celebrity like Beyonce or Kanye West.

3. Focus on other people as opposed to yourself.

If you are low on confidence, self-conscious, nervous and shy in social situations, focus your attention on other people and what they are saying or doing instead of focusing on your own awkwardness.

For example, think about what it is that is interesting about the person who’s the centre of the party or the guy or girl you are talking with. Prompt them to talk more about themselves and be genuinely curious and interested in what they say. You will instantly come across as confident and warmhearted.

People generally want to talk about themselves, be heard and understood. They will love it when you’re eager and willing to listen to them and really hear what they have to say.

This habit of focusing more on what you love in others as opposed to what you dislike in yourself will not only help you become more assertive and comfortable in virtually all social situations, but also instantly make you feel great about yourself.

4. Know (and accept) yourself for who you are.

Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu, author of the internationally acclaimed book The Art of War, said, “Know yourself and you will win all battles.” Even in the battle with lack of confidence, you will need to know yourself to win.

Knowing yourself starts with understanding that people are not all the same, neither are all social situation suitable for everyone. You might not be confident in large gatherings, but you could be bold and confident in one-on-one and small group interactions. We all have our own unique gifts and unique ways of expressing ourselves. Embrace yours!

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Introverts, for example, have a quiet confidence that is, unfortunately, often confused for shyness. They are naturally low key and prefer to spend time alone. However, this natural disposition affords them certain unique gifts, such as an ability to listen better than most people and notice things that others don’t.

Your uniqueness is where your strength and advantage lies. You won’t be comfortable and confident in all situations all the time. Albert Einstein said,

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

5. Crack a smile.

If there is one sure way to instantly boost your confidence, it’s cracking a smile. Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at The George Washington University, says that flashing those pretty, pearly white teeth will immediately make you appear both confident and composed. But, the effect of smiling is not just external. Studies show that smiling can also help nix feelings of stress and pave the way for a happier and more relaxed you.[2]

Not a bad return for something seemingly so trite, wouldn’t you agree?

6. Break a sweat—with exercise.

Working out is another great way to make yourself feel amazing and confident. Science has shown that exercising increases your endorphins, helps reduce stress, tones your muscles and makes you feel happy and confident.[3]

And hey, all you have to do is take a walk a few times a week and you’ll see the benefits. What seems to matter—as far as your confidence goes—is whether you break a sweat, not how strenuous your session is, which is pretty cool. Start working out now.

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7. Groom yourself.

This might seem mundane, but it’s amazing how much of a difference a shower and shave can have on your confidence and self-image. And when you spritz on a scent, the boost on confidence and self-esteem is incredible. As it turns out, your favorite fragrance does more than make you smell oh-so-nice.

A study found that a fragrance can inspire confidence in men. Interestingly, the study also found that the more a man likes the fragrance, the more confident he might feel. Another study found that 90% of women feel more confident while wearing a scent than those who go fragrance-free.

8. Dress nicely.

Another one that might seem trite, but it works. If you dress nicely, you’ll instantly feel good about yourself and give your confidence a real boost. That is largely because you’ll feel attractive, presentable and sometimes even successful in nice clothes.

While dressing nicely means something different for everyone, it does not necessarily mean wearing $500 designer outfits. It means wearing clothes that are clean, that you are comfortable in and that are nice-looking and presentable, including casual clothes.

9. Do activities you enjoy.

Whether it is reading a book, playing a musical instrument, riding your bicycle or going fishing, do what you really enjoy and what makes you truly happy often. It will boost your self-esteem, soothe your ego and allow you to identify with your gifts and talents. That will in turn bolster your self-belief and grow your confidence exponentially.

You might not become popular for doing what you love, but you might not even want to be popular at all. Being popular doesn’t make you happy; doing what you love does.

10. Prepare for the possibility of rejection / setback.

Late World No. 1 professional tennis player Arthur Ashe said, “One important key to success is self-confidence. A key to self-confidence is preparation.” You need to prepare for the possibility of rejection and setback.

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Why?

Everybody suffers rejection and setback at one point or another. You are not exempted. The question on your mind, therefore, should not be if you will be rejected, but how you will handle rejection when it comes.

Prepare yourself adequately in every situation to minimize the risk and effect of rejection and so that your confidence is not broken. For example, learn public speaking and rehearse what you are going to say beforehand if you have landed a public speaking engagement. That way, you are sure of yourself and confident you have what it takes to hack it. If you are rejected, don’t take it personally.

Rejection and setbacks happen to the best of us. Take it as a learning experience. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

11. Face uncomfortable situations square in the face.

Don’t run away from uncomfortable situations. Running away from people or situations because you feel scared, shy or timid only confirms and reinforces your shyness. Instead, face the situation that makes you uneasy square in the face. For example, go ahead and talk to that person you are afraid to approach, or go straight to the front of your yoga class! What’s the worst that can happen?

Prepare and be ready for any eventuality. The more you face your fears, the more you realize you are stronger than you thought and the more confident you get. This simple, yet admittedly courageous, act makes you unstoppable. You get comfortable being uncomfortable and begin to feel like you can take on the world. And that is the hallmark of someone destined for great things.

12. Sit up straight and walk tall—you are awesome!

Yes, sit up straight and believe you are awesome. Don’t slump in your chair or slouch your shoulders. Experts say the right stance can not only keep your self-esteem and mood lifted, but also lead to more confidence in your own thoughts.[4]

The way to sit is to open up your chest and keep your head level so that you look and feel poised and assured. And when you get up, stand tall and walk like you’re on a mission. People who sit up straight and walk tall are more attractive and instantly feel more confident. Try it now: you’ll feel fierce and confident just by sitting up straight and walking tall.

Featured photo credit: Freshh Connection via unsplash.com

Reference

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