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Keep the Good Going; The Choice is Yours
by Andy Grant
When I speak about my experiences with depression and someone discovers that I am a survivor of multiple suicide attempts, there is usually one of two initial questions; why and how. The why – “Why did you do it?” – usually is asked by people who don’t have any first hand experience with suicidal thoughts. They can’t comprehend feeling that bad. The how – “How did you overcome it?” usually comes from people dealing with depression or suicidal thoughts. This article will attempt to answer the how question, at least a bit. Everything I share is based on my experience. It worked for me and it may work for you too.
I felt down, emotional and different from a very young age. Growing up I thought “normal” people were always happy, upbeat and never depressed. I was wrong. Everyone is human. We all feel anxious, angry, jealous, upset, sad, and even depressed at times. Everything you or I ever feel is okay. The problems come when I don’t let emotions pass through me. I set myself up for a fall when I mistakenly think that negative thought or emotion is me.
I was tempted to write that this is a constant battle, but that isn’t accurate. It is a constant awareness, a constant choice, but it is not a battle. My mind going first to constant battle once again shows that negative bias I have for struggle, pain and strife. It doesn’t have to be that way.
We aren’t battling depression, anxiety or any other emotion. I find problems arise when we resist feelings. If we actually let ourselves feel them, I find they pass rather quickly. Things don’t always happen for the best, but you can make the best of what happens. Everyone can learn gratitude. Everyone can learn to focus on the positive and discover the tremendous impact it has on your life.
Some of the best tools I’ve found for increasing my power of choice are meditation and journaling. There are countless studies showing the benefits of meditation for physical, emotional and mental health. As little as five minutes of deep breathing is enough to have an impact. You can also find all sorts of guided meditations ranging from a few minutes to an hour online and on CD.
Journaling is a great way to grow your gratitude muscle. Today, start writing down three things you are grateful before you go to bed. They can be big things or little things; it is all up to you. Once you are comfortable with that, bump it up to five then go for ten or more. The important thing is to make this a habit. Doing it daily is best, but even doing it weekly will have an impact. The gratitude habit gets you focusing on what works, focusing on the good in your life. At those times when you aren’t feeling very grateful read what you’ve written down. Let your own words remind you that you didn’t always feel miserable and you won’t stay feeling that way if you consciously choose to feel otherwise. You have more power than you realize. Over time, this gratitude practice will create new neural pathways. You can rewire your brain to have a more positive slant, to be grateful automatically. Experiment, you’ve got nothing to lose. You can always choose to feel pissy again if you want.
Just like the body pushes splinters out of the body. Painful emotions are pushed out of the body. For emotions to be let go of they need to be felt. If we resist or bury them, they stay within us resurfacing over and over and at times we can’t control.
The most powerful thing we as humans have is our power of choice. When I learned that I could control my thoughts, that I had the power to change my thoughts and thereby my emotions, I finally took responsibility for my life. My outlook changed radically for the better.
I’m not saying I’m in full control of my thoughts and emotions in every single moment, I’m saying I can now recognize when I’m not feeling how I’d like to feel and I can choose a new thought, a better thought. I can reach for a more uplifting thought and my emotion will change. For too many years, I would take any negative experience, thought or emotion as proof that life was horrible and that I was better off dead. I was making a choice, but I wasn’t aware of it. Genetics is part of it, but a large part of my happiness is based on my choices.
Anytime I was laughing, I never worried that it would never stop. I never thought, “Oh no, I’m doomed to a life of laughing all the time.” Yet, at times when I was sad, crying, depressed or having suicidal thoughts I did worry it would never end.
Every feeling is ok. Feel it and let it pass. Realize it will pass. Everything you have ever felt has passed. The one constant in life is change. The sooner you choose to accept that, the easier every change that comes your way will be.
At every moment in my life I can make the choice to open up my senses or to shut them down and take the familiar for granted. The consequences of that choice are immense in terms of my happiness, optimism, joy, health, success, relationships… everything, because when I appreciate the good, the good appreciates.
Regardless of what happens, decide to make the best of it. Choose to enjoy your life no matter what. Choose, right now, to love who you are. That has made all the difference in the world for me.
Andy Grant is an author, speaker and transformational energy coach trained in using intuition to read the energy of any person or situation. As a graduate of the Enwaken Coaching System, he is able to see people’s subconscious blocks, identify the root causes and use cutting edge energy tools to remove them. Andy is also a practitioner of EFT, Reiki and Qigong.
For more information visit http://www.NavitasCoach.com