Overcoming Depression by Curing Man’s “Morning Sickness”
First up, I’m NOT talking about pregnancy here. I’m talking about the most important part of the day — morning — and how we often ignore it to our own detriment…
It’s totally overwhelming to think thoughts like “I just need to improve my life to feel happy” (or any similar all-encompassing line of thought). So, as discussed in some of my previous posts, you need to isolate the problem.
The depression/anxiety domino-effect
Actually, it’s usually a cascade of several problems — of varying levels of importance, accumulating as the day goes on — that bring us down. There are many things that can trigger depression (see this post about overcoming depression triggers), but it’s important to remember that “the first triggers are the keys to unravel the rest”. Or, put another way, the way we start something often ends up becoming the way we experience the rest of it.
Case-in-point; your entire life to-date… Many of us live out our whole lives based on the belief systems our parents and early peers instilled in us. Our first 7 years are very formative, and if we’re not conscious of those inner “programs” we were given during that time, we can keep experiencing the same type of life that our parents and peers experienced. This totally sucks if your parents or peers gave you a set of beliefs that were limiting or depressing!
But there is hope. As soon as we are aware of the idea of “inner programs”, we can start to become aware of exactly what they are, and then we can set about changing them! There are lots of simple ideas for personal transformation in my book if you’re interested in discovering more.
“How do you eat an elephant? … One bite at a time”
So, working backwards from the end of many long and unhappy days, I gradually saw one thing in common. And likewise, working backwards from the end of many fun and fruitful days, I could see the opposite commonality. Almost ALL of the miserable days started badly, and almost ALL of the great days started well.
Go frame yourself!
There’s something magic about a picture frame isn’t there? … You can put a crazy pencil scribble in an expensive black frame with a wide white border and it looks like modern art on your wall… Hell, they’ve probably got some similar stuff at MoMA! … But you can stick it on your fridge without a frame, and it looks just like a crazy pencil scribble — nothing more.
“The frame creates the perception,
and the perception creates the experience.”
Life’s just like that too. It’s one of the key reasons why some people have good self-esteem and others don’t — they’ve framed themselves (or been framed by their parents/peers) in a way that creates either a good, neutral or poor self-perception… And this in turn creates the experience of life for those people.
A very simple start to re-framing your world
There are some areas of life that take a fair bit of work to re-frame. There are some deep, emotional reasons why people suffer anxiety and depression… and then there are other reasons that are dead-easy to fix. And what I’ve found is that, often just fixing the easy bits first stops the hard bits from even being a serious issue anymore — because they just don’t show up in your mind when you’ve started that day with a positive frame.
“…what I’ve found is that, often just fixing the easy bits first stops the hard bits from even being a serious issue anymore…”
Simply put; your life is the sum of your days. So, it makes sense that the start of each day is the most important bit to change — because it can “frame” the rest of your day… and then, accumulatively, it can change the remainder of your whole life.
Here are some quick scenarios I’ve personally experienced to help you clearly see what I’m getting at here….
- DAY 1: I slept in, was late for work (again), risked losing my job (again) and framed my day in a stressful way that re-affirmed the depressing idea that I’m unreliable. That day sucked.
- DAY 2: I had a crap breakfast (some cheap cereal with zero nutrition and LOTS of sugar), I had a brief sugar high, then hit with a major sugar low, had a strong coffee (high, then back to low again), then couldn’t concentrate all day, felt physically sluggish (which often transmutes to “depressed” in my mind because it’s hard to tell the difference). That day sucked.
- DAY 3: I woke up early, had a relaxed morning before work and everything felt pretty normal. That day was neutral.
- DAY 4: I started the day with a nutritious breakfast of organic grains, nuts and fruit. I had good focus and energy all day. Work went well. That day felt good.
- DAY 5: I woke early, had a healthy breakfast, meditated, and the rest of the day felt close-to-perfect — even when things went wrong at work. I sailed through. That day was calm and happy.