This particular article of mine continues to resonate over time, so I am posting again in the hopes that it can help more people who are suffering from depression, or who are starting to see some signs of depression in themselves.
If you don’t have time to read the full article, this is the key takeaway:
If you can commit to changing one thing about your life that you’re not happy with, one step at a time, you are owning your situation, and making a personal decision to improve on it.
Yes, there are times when there is no obvious reason for depression to hit.
However, there are also times when, if we dig deeper, we find that there are reasons why we are feeling that way, it just takes time to recognize them.
Read the article below to learn more about taking responsibility in your life and creating a self-awareness to see where in your life can you make personal decision to improve.
Developing Greater Self-Awareness
I got this direct message through Instagram the other day, it said; “Kevin, I’m depressed. I can’t figure it out. Do you have any advice?”.
I get these messages all the time from people trying to figure things out.
“Kev, how do I get out of depression?”
(For more of my advice on how to overcome setbacks, click here.)
Have you ever felt that way before? When you just don’t know what to do?
What will often surface is that we feel like we don’t know why we’re depressed and we don’t know what to do. It’s very common. Feeling sad for no reason is not always something that you can easily solve. However, sometimes it just requires searching deeper for the right answers.
Struggling with Depression
I want to share this story with you because how this scenario unfolded might help you in your life as well. When I got the message mentioned above, the problem the person had was “I’m depressed. I don’t know what to do.”
This makes me think of one of my favorite quotes by Jim Rohn;
“You can’t change your destination overnight but you can change your direction.”
You can’t arrive at this healthy, healed spot automatically, but in this exact moment you can start making new decisions to move towards that new destination.
The person who sent me the message was an athlete. He called and said, “Kev, I can’t figure out why.” I said, “Okay, well, let’s break it down. There’s got to be a little bit more to the story than you’re depressed just because you are. Give me some examples.”
What he said to me was “Well, I had a concussion early in the season last September, so I had to take some time off to recover from that, and I still don’t feel like myself. I’ve been eating really poorly. Eating a lot of fast food, not making any meals. I just lay on the couch all day and I feel like a blob.”
So my reply was; “Well, that kind of makes sense why you’d be depressed.”
Breaking Down The Situation
I suggested breaking down the situation and said, “Well, first of all, you had a concussion and you have to recover from that.
- It’s going to take time to recover.
- You need to get yourself back into the groove. If you don’t feel like yourself on the ice, it totally makes sense. You might not feel like yourself until the end of the season or maybe into next season.
- Not only are you dealing with your head, but you’ve had to take time off the ice so your fitness level has dropped. You can’t beat yourself up so much when you’ve had a setback that requires you time to recover from.”
We’re often like that. We often want to just force ourselves back into it, into work, back into our daily lives, into looking after the kids—something I know all too well.
“Okay, well you admit to me that you’re laying on the couch and you feel like a blob. It’s because you are being a blob! What can you do to change that? You can today, in this exact moment, make a decision to get yourself back to the gym.”
When I talk about being a hero of your own story in my keynote, the hero moment comes down to making decisions and taking action on what you know you need to do.
The hero makes the decision that I’m going to take a new direction today.
Just get into the gym. That’s a hero moment right there.
Take it One Step at a Time
When you’re at the gym, you don’t have to crush it your first day back. Even if you don’t workout, just the matter of getting there and doing exercise period, just stretching alone is a hero moment because you actually got yourself out of the house and went there and was physical and created movement in some way.
Next, you build on that. You start saying, “Okay, now I’m going to get my heart rate up. Now I’m going to start lifting some heavier weights.”
Don’t think that you have to get to that peak fitness level back your first day because you’re not going to do it. Start looking at how you can make some better decisions and break things down.
(To learn more about getting back into a routine, click here.)
Finally, we looked at nutrition. It was the same idea where he said, “I’ve been eating like crap.”
So I said, “Okay, well it’d be nice to be back on an awesome diet regimen, but you don’t have to nail three meals a day for five or seven days a week to feel like you’ve got it back right away.
It might just be replacing one meal a day with some better quality food.
It might just be getting some more water intake so you develop a better routine of staying hydrated…that’s all going to support your cognitive level.”
All of these things—the activity, creating the blood flow, creating a release of endorphins in your brain and nutrition helping your diet filter everything through your body better—will result in you feeling better. Right?
Take Responsibility in Your Life
My favourite strategy to deepen your level of self-awareness is through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) techniques. Assessing yourself by asking the right questions can help you find the right answers to why you may be struggling;
- What is contributing to my struggles?
- What is my actual problem?
- What is preventing me from taking the right actions to change my behaviour?
- What action step can I focus on today to fix it?
I would encourage you to literally take a piece of paper and talk to yourself and write those things down. Write down the questions that you’re struggling with, and your honest answers.
- Why do I feel this way? Because I haven’t moved from my chair in the last two weeks.
- Why haven’t I moved from my chair? Because I am never taking breaks and prioritizing work all the time over my health.
- Why am I not prioritizing my health? Because I fear rejection and so perfectionism is taking away my opportunity to live a life beyond what I do on the computer.
Go through that process and start to discover yourself, and the reasons why you’re in the situation you’re in.
When you do this, write these questions and answers down so that you can look at them objectively vs getting caught up in a mental and emotional loop.
That’s what CBT techniques are all about. Get things written down on paper and separate your thoughts from the emotion to make a logical decision towards the challenges you are facing.
Whenever you are ready here are the best ways, I can help you:
Connect with me on LinkedIn – This is where I post my best content to help you shift your mindset to drive results and embrace change. Click here
Hire me as a speaker for your next event – Watch my keynote demo reel on The Hero Mindset to see me in action. Click here
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