8 Ways To Persevere When Depression Persists

See PsychCentral Article Here
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Although I like to cling to the promise that my depression will get better — since it always has in the past — there are long, painful periods when it seems as though I’m going to have to live with these symptoms forever.

In the past, there was a time when I had been struggling with death thoughts for what seemed like forever. One afternoon, I panicked when I surmised that they might always be with me. I embraced the wisdom of Toni Bernhard, who wrote a brilliant handbook for all of us living with chronic illness, How to Be Sick. While reading her words, I mourned the life I once had and made room to live with symptoms of depression indefinitely.

The death thoughts did eventually disappear, but I’m always mindful of my depression. Every decision I make in a 24-hour period, from what I eat for breakfast to what time I go to bed, is driven by an effort to protect my mental health.

When I hit a painful stretch that feels like forever, I return to Bernhard’s insights and to my own strategies that have helped me persevere through rough patches along the way.

Here are some of them:

1. Revisit the Past

When we’re depressed, our perspective of the past is colored by melancholy, and we don’t see things accurately. For example, if I’m in a low mood, I look back on those years when I experienced death thoughts and think that I felt nothing but depression for more than 1,000 days. It’s helpful to peak at my mood journals from that period to see that I did have some good days and good times scattered throughout the painful stretches, which means I will have good hours and days in coming hard periods as well.

I also look at photo albums that bring me back to moments of joy sprinkled in amidst the sadness; these give me hope that even though I’m still struggling, it’s possible to contribute a nice memory to my album.

2. Remember that Pain Isn’t Solid

Going through mood journals is also a good way to remind myself that pain isn’t solid. I may start the morning with excruciating anxiety, but by lunch I might be able to enjoy a nice reprieve. At night I may even be capable of laughing at a movie with the kids.

Bernhard compares the painful symptoms of her illness to the weather. “Weather practice is a powerful reminder of the fleeting nature of experience: how each moment arises and passes as quickly as a weather pattern,” she writes.

I like to think of my panic and depression as labor pains. I breathe through the anguish, trusting that the intensity will eventually fade. Hanging on to the concept of impermanence gives me consolation and relief in the midst of distress — that the emotions and thoughts and feelings I’m experiencing aren’t solid.

3. Maximize Periods of Wellness

Most people who have lived with treatment-resistant depression or another chronic illness have learned how to maximize their good moments. During painful stretches, I consider these moments to be the rest periods I need between contractions. I soak them in as much as humanly possible and let them carry me through the difficult hours ahead.

4. Act As If

Author and artist Vivian Greene has written, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass … It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

That sums up living with a chronic illness. There’s a fine line between pushing yourself too hard and not challenging yourself enough, but most of the time, I find that I feel better by “acting as if” I’m feeling okay.

So I sign up for a paddle-boarding club even though I don’t want to; I have lunch with a friend even though I have no appetite; I show up to swim practice with tinted goggles in case I cry. I tell myself “do it anyway” and operate like I’m not depressed.

5. Embrace Uncertainty

Not until I read Bernhard’s book did I realize that much of my suffering comes from my desire for certainty and predictability. I want to know when my anxiety will abate, which medications will work, and when I’ll be able to sleep eight hours again. I’m wrestling for control over the steering wheel, and the fact that I don’t have it is killing me.

The flip side, though, is that if I can inch toward an acceptance of uncertainty and unpredictability, then I can lessen my suffering. Bernhard writes:

Just seeing the suffering in that desire loosens its hold on me, whether it’s wanting so badly to be at a family gathering or clinging to the hope for positive results from a medication or desiring for a doctor not to disappoint me. Once I see the [suffering] in the mind, I can begin to let go a little.

6. Stop Your Inner Meanie and Remember Self-Compassion

Like so many others who battle depression, I talk to myself in ways I wouldn’t even address an enemy. I call myself lazy, stupid, unmotivated, and deserving of suffering. The self-denigrating tapes are so automatic that I often don’t catch how harmful the dialogue is until I’m saying the words out loud to a friend or doctor.

We can relieve some of our suffering by addressing ourselves with the same compassion that we would offer a friend or a daughter. Lately, I’m trying to catch my inner meanie and instead offer myself kindness and gentleness.

7. Attach Yourself to a Purpose

Friedrich Nietzsche said, “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”

When my depression gets to be unbearable, I picture my two kids and my husband, and I tell myself that I have to stick around for them. It’s fine if I never wear one of those “Life Is Good” T-shirts. I have a higher purpose that I must complete, like a soldier in a battle. I must see my mission through to the end. Dedicating your life to a cause can keep you alive and give you the much-needed fuel to keep going.

8. Stay in the Present

If we can manage to stay in the present moment and focus only on the thing that is right in front of us, we eliminate much of our angst because it’s almost always rooted in the past and in the future.

When I’m in a painful stretch, one day at a time is too long. I have to break it down into 15-minute periods. I tell myself that for the next 15 minutes, my only job is to do the thing in front of me, whether that’s helping my daughter with homework, doing the dishes, or writing a column. When 15 minutes are up, I commit to another 15 minutes. That way, I patch several days together, and before long, one of those days contains some joy.

 

This Is The Most Powerful Way To Make Your Life Fantastic

See Author Article Here
By Eric Barker

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Last year Cal Newport convinced 1,600 people to completely change their lives.He asked them to take a 30-day break from the optional technologies in their lives. Unless not using it would get you fired, divorced, or cause the people you love to spontaneously burst into flame, it was out. Say goodbye to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for a month.And anything not optional got rules: only checking email at designated hours and the screen time limits you might impose on your kids now got imposed on you. So what happened?No, nobody had a seizure. And, yes, the initial transition was rough for many. But after that, in the vast majority of cases, it utterly changed people’s lives for the better.

They got happier. More productive. They spent more quality time with their kids. One father remarked how weird it was to be the only parent at the playground notlooking at his phone.

Research shows 70% of your happiness comes from relationships:

Contrary to the belief that happiness is hard to explain, or that it depends on having great wealth, researchers have identified the core factors in a happy life. The primary components are number of friends, closeness of friends, closeness of family, and relationships with co-workers and neighbors. Together these features explain about 70 percent of personal happiness. – Murray and Peacock 1996

And what’s the biggest controllable factor that’s taking quality time away from your relationships? Probably your phone. The internet. The pseudo-relationships you have on social media.

We’ve read a thousand tips and tricks for reducing our screen time but they’re like fad diets and are generally only effective until the next time you feel a buzzing in your pocket.

Technology’s not evil, but we need to find a balance. We need more than tips, we need a philosophy. A system. Dare I say, an ethos. And Cal has one for us: “Digital Minimalism.”

No, Cal’s not going to tell you to smash your phone. Quite the opposite: He’s a professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University, sporting a PhD from MIT. The Force is strong with this one. He’s the bestselling author of a whole bunch of books, including the amazing Deep Work.

His latest book is Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World

I gave Cal a call to find out how we can get the best of technology — so it doesn’t get the best of us. This isn’t another rant about the evils of screens. It’s a battle plan for building a better life.

Let’s get to it …

The true enemy is “reverse FOMO”

FOMO: fear of missing out. You’ve probably clicked an article about the subject because, hey, wouldn’t wanna miss out on the latest internet hysteria. But FOMO is a false god. It’s not the real problem.

The real problem is “reverse FOMO.” You’re not missing out on anything online. But by always being online you’re missing out on life. Here’s Cal:

We have this idea of FOMO, which is that if you’re not super-connected, there could be something you’re missing out on. But the reality is that the issue most people are having is that because they’re using technology more than they know is healthy, it’s crowding out all the things that we know deep down make a good life good. People are missing out on real-world conversation, which is just crucial for a satisfying life. Being with people in person, sacrificing time and effort to actually be with someone, to connect with them through the good, the bad, the boring, the interesting. We need that to survive.

The ability to lift your phone at any moment is slicing good hours into time confetti. It’s preventing us from accomplishing big things and focusing on the people we love. And at the same time it’s creating a salad bar of new problems like anxiety, FOMO and loneliness. Sorry, your brain needs more social connection than Facebook Likes can provide. Here’s Cal:

…we’re seeing this increasingly strong signal that more social media use means higher likelihood of loneliness. And one of the leading hypotheses is that social media displaces real-world interaction. If you’re on social media all the time, you feel like you’re very social, and therefore you don’t invest the effort required to do as much real-world interaction. Our brains evolved for millions of years with no like buttons or emojis. When you say, “Okay, I’m not going to give you any face to face interaction, but what I am going to give you is a little number that counts how many hearts someone clicks on a picture” — that’s not satisfying it. That’s why you can ironically end up more lonely when you spend more time on social media platforms. It’s something we should be much more afraid of than we are.

Too much phone time isn’t just distracting us from our relationships — research shows it’s making us worse at conducting them. Here’s Cal:

Sherry Turkle from MIT documents that conversation actually requires practice. There’s a dance involved in sitting across from someone and negotiating that interaction. And if you rob a lot of that from your life, you get bad at it. It not only makes you lonely, it not only brings out anxiety-related disorders, it makes you really bad at relating when you have to do it.

People will respond “But social media is good for X and Y. I do get value from it!” No doubt. But that logic is a trap. Plenty of things have some value — the question is what are you giving up in exchange for it?

You have 24 hours in a day. If you’re doing one thing, you’re not doing another. Is the value you get from epic hours online better than the value you’d get from the alternative? Better than quality time with friends? We need to be more conscious of the choices we’re making.

When a friend convinces you to download yet another app, they may say “you don’t know what you’re missing.” But when it comes to real life, we do know what we’re missing. And often it’s far more valuable than whatever another dinging notification brings.

(To learn more about how you and your children can lead a successful life, check out my bestselling book here.)

So what do we do about it?

Forget lifehacks — Start with values

Tech’s not good. Tech’s not evil. Tech’s a tool. You can use it for good or for let’s-be-honest-checking-email-300-times-a-day-is-not-very-good.

You never sat down and decided that your default should be you’ll stare at your phone every time you have a free second. But somehow it became the rule anyway.

And that’s the problem. We didn’t make a decision. And that has led to epic amounts of asking, “Where the heck did all my time go?”

We don’t need a lifehack. We need to start with values to make sure that technology serves us instead of us serving it. A hammer is a tool. But you wouldn’t default to picking it up every time you had a free moment. That would be silly.

You’d grab it for a purpose that served your goals. But things get screwed up when you don’t know what your values and goals are. Here’s Cal:

What matters is your whole picture for your life. You’re trying to build a good life that focuses on the things that are important to you, and technology is only useful in so much as it helps support the things you really care about. What this means is that you’re going to be very intentional. “Here’s what I really value. I’m going to focus my energy on these things, and I’m going to ignore and miss out on everything else.” That intentionality itself can be way more satisfying and positive than the benefits you get from all of those minor conveniences and minor dollops of value. You’re figuring out what’s important to your life. For each of these things, you’re stepping back and saying, “What’s the best way to use technology, if at all, to support this value?” and then you ignore everything else.

If your career is everything to you and you’re in sales, hey, maybe you need to check email 300 times a day. No problem — that’s in service of your values. But that’s not the case for most of us.

You need to ask yourself what’s important to you. And then make a decision about how technology fits into your life to serve those goals. Be intentional abut setting rules that serve your purpose. Here’s Cal:

How many people just made a New Year’s resolution to look at their phone less? That doesn’t do it. How many people have read the same article again and again about turning off their notifications? That’s the equivalent of telling people, “Vegetables are good for you. Try to eat less and move more.” It’s not enough. People need a philosophy based on their values so we don’t have to think about it. Digital Minimalism is one such philosophy. It’s like the veganism or the paleo of the digital world.

“Paleo for your screen” has a nice ring to it. But that might be too extreme for most of us.

But you need to know your values and priorities. And then set rules that work for them. Because as we’ve all seen, if we don’t start with values tech time will fill every void by default and you’ll end up wondering where the hours went.

You may also end up wondering where you friends and family went too.

(To learn how to stop checking your phone, click here.)

I know what a lot of people are thinking: “Um, other than vague platitudes about putting those I love first, what are my values?” And that leads us to another problem with tech. To address this one, we actually need to start by getting away from people.

In fact, we need to get away from everything for a little while …

Try a long walk without a phone

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away people used to do this thing called “thinking.” They didn’t listen to anything, read anything, or talk to anyone for a little while. You can look this “thinking” thing up on Wikipedia and it probably has a picture of a horse and buggy next to it.

These days I think many of us are scared to death of being alone with our own minds. This wasn’t always the way. And it’s not good. Here’s Cal:

A smartphone made it possible for the first time in human history to eliminate all moments of solitude and deep thought from your day because it provides an endless stream of compelling stimuli. If you want to take in ideas and process them into something valuable, this requires a lot of thinking, and this thinking has to be done free from other stimuli. So if you want to take the great ideas from that new Eric Barker article and integrate them into your life into a way that’s really useful, you can’t just read the article. You also are going to have to spend some time thinking about what you read and place it within the structures that already exist in your life. You have to have time alone with your thoughts to extract anywhere near the full possible value from information.

We need to do less reacting and more reflecting. Back to Professor Cal:

Having insight about your values, your life, changes in your life, what you want to do, how you want to live, these key bits of self-reflection that help us grow as human beings absolutely depend on solitude. There has to be time where it’s you alone with your thoughts.

So go out and take a long walk, sans phone, and try this “thinking” thing. Reading and listening to good ideas is awesome — trust me, I’m a big fan. But we also need time alone to create good ideas.

We need to think about what is important to us. When we have the answer to that, many other decisions become much much easier.

(To learn the 4-step morning ritual that will make you happy all day, click here.)

So you’re taking time to think. You know what’s important to you. But now you’re going to face the same problem the 1600 people in Cal’s experiment did:

“What the heck do I do with myself now that I’m not online all the time?”

“High-quality analog leisure”

Archaeologists have discovered that back in that Dark Ages when people did that “thinking” thing,  they also engaged in these odd rituals called “hobbies.” These were projects where they gained skills and created things without incentives from an employer. How quaint. Here’s Cal, who explains things with 90% less snark:

Historically, especially in the 19th century or the 20th century, as people had more leisure time, the natural discomfort with boredom drove them to try to fill it with quality activities or community engagement, high-skilled hobbies, intellectual pursuits that are done for non-professional reasons, like poetry and novels and big idea thinking. And we were always driven towards this.

We all have activities we’re passionate about. Things we’d like to do that make us feel proud of ourselves. Things we’d like to be respected for. We look at people who teach themselves to play the guitar or learn another language and say, “Where do they find the time?”

But we all have the same 24 hours. Really. (It has to do with physics or something.) I laugh when I see articles on the net about, “How To Read More Books.” They get a lot of clicks. And people often ask me, “Eric, you read a lot. How can I read more?” But I won’t be posting on the subject anytime soon. Actually, I will.

Here you go: “The things that are not reading, do them less. The things that are reading, do them more. The End.”

We all have 24 hours. It’s about priorities. And many of us are making our phones and social media a big priority — whether we admit it to ourselves or not.

One of the most common things Cal heard from the 1600 was, “I forgot just how much I enjoyed doing X.” We should all do more X. And some Y. Forget Z, it sucks.

We blast our free hours into time confetti and then can’t conceive of how people take on big personal projects or learn new skills. What hobby might bring you more joy or pride?

Seriously, answer that question — because if you don’t know the answer, your efforts to curb your tech use will inevitably fail. You must have something to fill the void. And it has to excite you more than Instagram.

(To learn the 4 harsh truths that will make you a better person, click here.)

So other than your new stamp-collecting hobby, what else do you need to do? Hint: it involves people…

Make awesome plans with friends

Social media is the empty calories of friend nutrition. Keep stuffing your face with digital Doritos and you won’t have time for a real meal.

Think the world will end if you don’t comment on your friend’s next Facebook selfie? It won’t if you go visit them in person. Here’s that Cal guy again:

Digital minimalists are way more invested in real-world conversation. Maybe they don’t comment on that baby picture, but they show up unsolicited with dinner so you don’t have to cook that night. They call you. And it’s a priority for them. “I want to talk to you. What’s going on? How’s X, Y, Z happening with your work?” And so their friendships end up becoming much stronger.

This is what he saw with the 1600. (I encourage you all to emulate them — and bring me dinner.)

Do your best not to socialize digitally anymore if you can help it. Don’t use texting to catch up — use it for logistics to arrange a get together. Prioritize quality over quantity. Less texting, more hugging. Hugs make you happy. Science says so. Mom says so. Scientific moms say so.

But the big thing we’re missing these days is activities. People used to do things. Yeah, coffee or a drink is nice, but we need events, celebrations and competitions. Poker nights, board games, pickup basketball. We need to be a part of something and have a medium in which to connect, cooperate and express ourselves. Here’s Señor Newport:

So this is one of the benefits you get from high-quality leisure activities that have a social component to them, such as playing a board game with a group of friends or Ultimate Frisbee with your team. Part of why these types of things seem to be really beneficial is that the structure of the activity allows you a lot more flexibility and enjoyment in your social interaction that you might have in a simple conversation.

Play Monopoly. Plan an outing. Go conquer a neighboring village.

(To learn how to have a long awesome life, click here.)

Okay, we’ve learned a lot about what we’ve been missing. Let’s round it all up and see just how essential being part of a real-life community is to every one of us …

Sum up

This is the most powerful way to make your life fantastic:

  • Reverse FOMO is the problem: You’re not missing anything online. But if you’re always online you’re missing a lot of what makes life great.
  • You Don’t Need Lifehacks, You Need Values: If you don’t know what’s more important to you than spending time on Instagram, you will keep spending all your time on Instagram.
  • Long Walks Without A Phone: Thinking. Give it a try. I promise you, it’s not something you want someone else to do for you.
  • High Quality Analog Leisure: Make something, learn something, practice something. We all have 24 hours in a day. Someone else is not doing cooler things than you because they have “more time”. It’s because they have different priorities.
  • Make Awesome Plans With Friends: Which village should we conquer first?

It’s about feeling good about yourself. Living a life in alignment with your deepest values. Accomplishing things you’re proud of. And, most of all, being engaged with a community of people who love and support you.

I like technology. So do you. Nobody’s saying we have to surrender our phones and smash our routers. The issue is, by not having rules around how much we use it, we’ve quietly sacrificed some things that are vital. We can’t let digital connection get in the way of real community. That’s what we should be afraid of missing out on. It’s more important than any buzzing in our pocket — and if we take the time to really think about what makes us truly happy, we’ll choose community over modern conveniences almost every time.

I’m not trying to be all sappy and poetic. We have evidence. By the end of the nineteenth century, cities in America were rapidly moving toward what would become the modern world. New technologies, more convenience — but less community.

However, among the Native American tribes, not much was changing. Largely egalitarian and ruled by consensus, they lived much the same as they had for thousands of years. Not much new technology, but no shortage of community.

Here’s what’s interesting: city-dwellers sometimes left to join the Native American tribes. But the reverse almost never occurred.

From Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging:

It may say something about human nature that a surprising number of Americans—mostly men—wound up joining Indian society rather than staying in their own. They emulated Indians, married them, were adopted by them, and on some occasions even fought alongside them. And the opposite almost never happened: Indians almost never ran away to join white society. Emigration always seemed to go from the civilized to the tribal, and it left Western thinkers flummoxed about how to explain such an apparent rejection of their society.

Actually, it even gets more extreme than that.

From Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging:

“When an Indian child has been brought up among us, taught our language and habituated to our customs,” Benjamin Franklin wrote to a friend in 1753, “[yet] if he goes to see his relations and make one Indian ramble with them, there is no persuading him ever to return.” On the other hand, Franklin continued, white captives who were liberated from the Indians were almost impossible to keep at home: “Tho’ ransomed by their friends, and treated with all imaginable tenderness to prevail with them to stay among the English, yet in a short time they become disgusted with our manner of life … and take the first good opportunity of escaping again into the woods.”

Humans are a social species. We long to be part of a community, part of a tribe. Given the option, we’ll always choose it. The modern world isn’t giving us a lot of great choices. So we must create them for ourselves. And the first step toward that is making sure that technology serves our communal needs, rather than replacing them.

Seriously, how many of the best moments of your life happened in front of a screen?

Love Is Not Always Convenient

See ThoughtCatalog Article Here
By Leena Sanders

I think we have this huge misconception about what love is what love is not. Current day we are so determined for everything in our lives to look and feel so perfect, so molded, and so edited that the second something feels bad a lot of us first think about just leaving whatever doesn’t feel great. We’d rather swim on our own than ride the waves to mellow water. Don’t get me wrong, some relationships are destined to end and it’s a beautiful thing that they do. However, when the amount of effort and dedication is the problem rather than the people and their habits + who they are, that’s where love gets lost.

The truth is, love is not always convenient.

Love is not always steamy sex and beautiful handwritten letters.

Love does not always sound appealing, you do not always crave it.

Love does not always feel like date nights and cloud nine.

Love is not always planning your future and falling in love with the same vision of it.

Love is not always convenient.

Love is asking how your person’s day was when you are exhausted.

Love is feeling mentally drained but still showing appreciation for the fact that your socks have been folded and there is a love note on the mirror for you.

Love is seeing the bigger picture, it’s being willing to ride the waves because you see the bigger picture.

Love is selfless, it communicates, and it even communicates when the words that are being spoken don’t feel so good.

Love does not always happen in the moments that you want it to, sometimes the timing of love accompanies the timing of grief in ways that are unimaginable.

Love is not always a steady pace at sea but love rides waves to shore.

I think we need to remember that love has more to do with our own commitment to unconditional appreciation and gratitude and less to do with temporary moments that we don’t feel full.

Love is about learning your own personal map to fulfillment while still crediting and honoring your experience with another.

Love is knowing it’s not convenient and still daring to show up anyway.

9 Thoughts That Can Prevent You From Confronting Depression

See Author Article Here
One of the many difficult things about mental illnesses is that an illness can construct a narrative in your head that isn’t necessarily true. With depression, a combination of stigma and difficult-to-pinpoint symptoms may make diagnosis difficult. But the symptoms of depression are well-documented, and the first step is paying attention.

Since depression can alter your thoughts, it can be hard to differentiate when the illness is talking, versus when you are “When we are depressed we are viewing the world through a lens that isn’t congruent with our external reality, but during a depressive episode, our internal reality changes so it seems like things can be hopeless which often leads us to feel helpless,” Travis McNulty, LMHC, GAL, of McNulty Counseling & Wellness, tells Bustle. “ […] Usually depression manifests its form in a cycle of negative thoughts, negative emotions, and negative behaviors that further perpetuate one another.” These negative influences can actually start to convince you that you aren’t dealing with depression.

Some of these self-doubting thoughts may begin to dissipate when you acknowledge that depression is a serious diagnosis, and that you deserve help for the things you’re struggling with. Finding a mental health professional you can trust may help get you there even sooner.

Here are nine thoughts that can mask depression for what it is, according to experts.

1. That It’s Not “That Bad”

Aleksandr and Lidia/Shutterstock

If you’ve been noticing yourself feeling worse and worse for a while, but have a narrative of “I’m fine” running through your head — you may want to examine that thought further.

“One of the biggest lies that depression tells us is that we are OK,” licensed clinical social worker Melissa Ifill, tells Bustle. ” […] Unfortunately, we are often slow to give credibility to [any changes] or are truly unaware of how the depression is impacting us.” So if you find yourself minimizing your feelings, remind yourself that you don’t have to be at absolute rock bottom to deserve help.

2. “I Can Deal With This On My Own”

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Depression is a serious illness, not a burden you have to bare alone. Even if you have been through blue spells before, you deserve help this time around.

“One of the major thoughts people often have when experiencing depressive symptoms is that they do not need help,” Ifill says. “They believe that the mood, feelings or thoughts will go away by themselves or if they keep behaving as if things are OK, they will be eventually.” While some wounds may heal with time alone, it’s OK to admit that you may need the support of friends, family, or a professional, for what you’re dealing with.

3. That Everything Is Bad

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While it’s harmful to downplay your symptoms, it can also be harmful to catastrophize what you’re feeling as well.

“Black and white thinking is a classic thought pattern for those who are experiencing depressive symptoms,” Ifill says. “[…] Having a good supportive network (which should include a helping professional) can assist you in challenging some of these thought patterns and help you to see the more varied perspectives that life has to offer.” Many people have felt like there’s no way out before, and there are a plethora of resources to help.

4. That It Doesn’t Matter Anyways

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Another harmful way depression can try to trick you into thinking you’re not depressed is by telling you that it doesn’t matter either way.

“Depression causes helplessness and hopelessness,” Lara Schuster Effland, regional managing director of clinical operations for Eating Recovery Center’s Insight Behavioral Health Center, tells Bustle. “One may believe they are the problem and [that they are the reason] why they feel lonely and lost.” Blaming yourself for causing the consequences of your depression is hurtful. Finding a therapist or psychiatrist may help you break out of this thought pattern.

5. That You “Just Need A Vacation”

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Minimizing your symptoms does not always take the form of self-blame. Even telling yourself that you “just need a vacation” can be a way that the depression can get ahead.

“Feeling overworked, under-rested, and overwhelmed when depressed [is common],” Effland says. If you have a sense that you’re unable to get ahead, reaching out for support on that level is likely more helpful than a few days off could be.

6. That You’re Fine Because You’re In A Relationship

Ashley Batz/Bustle

Depression doesn’t discriminate. Having depression doesn’t make you ungrateful, either. So if you’re equivocating by telling yourself that you’re fine because you’re in a relationship, have a good job, or have great friends, you may actually be minimizing a serious illness.

“People who have the ‘perfect’ situation aren’t immune to depression, and often depression can come when everything is going well, because it often can’t be explained,” LGBT-affirming therapist Katie Leikam, LCSW, LISW-CP, tells Bustle. It’s important not to discredit your need for support just because things seem good on the outside.

7. That You Don’t Cry Much, So It Doesn’t Count

LightField Studios/Shutterstock

While depression can cause symptoms like excessive or easily-triggered crying, that doesn’t mean you should discount all of your other signs of the illness just because you haven’t been experiencing this.

“Depression can present itself in a lot of ways and only one of those ways is tears,” Leikam says. “Depression can also present itself in feeling lonely or numb of emotions and often people who feel numb, aren’t always able to cry.” If you’ve noticed that you’re feeling more apathetic than usual, then it’s a good first step to talk to your doctor.

8. That Excelling At Work Discounts Your Feelings

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Depression doesn’t always take away your ability to function. Many people with depression are still able to go about their daily lives. Just because you’re excelling at work doesn’t mean you don’t have depression.

“You can be on top of your game at work and still have clinical depression,” Leikam says. “Successful people can still have depression. Depression can be a chemical imbalance so it doesn’t discriminate against who has it and who doesn’t have it.” You deserve help even if you’ve been noticing symptoms, but are ignoring them because you think being high-functioning disqualifies you from the support you need.

9. That You’re Just Not “Normal”

Aaron Amat/Shutterstock

Mental health stigma can be incredibly powerful, especially if you’ve internalized it to the point that you believe something is wrong with you for feeling this way.

“Without an understanding of mental illness individuals often believe that depression is an indication that they’re not normal anymore, and that they are somehow different,” Dr. Neeraj Gandotra, MD, chief medical officer at Delphi Behavioral Health Group, tells Bustle. Reminding yourself that you’re still you, and that any changes to your health are worth taking care of, may help you get the boost you need to seek help.

Separating yourself from the symptoms of your depression can help you from being tricked by negative self-talk. “I like to help my clients refer to their depressive symptoms as ‘the depression,'” Ifill says. This way, you may be able to externalize the symptoms and emotions associated with depression, potentially making it easier to find a professional to support you.

10 Uplifting Self-Care Quotes That Will Help You Survive Your Hardest Days

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11 Keys To Happiness, According To Science

See Author Article Here
By Declan Malley

You’re dragging. Your life feels like an endless, meaningless repeat of the same old routine for the foreseeable future. It’s become difficult to get yourself out of bed in the morning because you simply don’t want to do what you need to do for the day. Don’t imagine you’re alone – everyone goes through this, and a lot of people get stuck in it. If you have no interest in becoming one of them, then read on.

1. Change your morning schedule.

It can be tough to do, especially if you feel no motivation to get up in the first place. Start small. If you’re a snooze button fiend, change up your alarm method – or placement. Switch to a different, delicious kind of breakfast if you can. Set ten minutes aside to meditate, stretch, or practice yoga. Choose anything that will help you personally succeed.

2. Find something that inspires you to kickstart your day.

What do you like to do to energize and push yourself forward? It matters, because if you’re consistently dragging in the morning, you need a special kind of nudge. Find what makes you want to jump out of bed and get into the thick of things. The list of possibilities is endless – it all comes down to finding the spark that works for you.

3. Meditate on a regular basis.

Whether you do so in the morning or not, it’s a good idea to engage in some sort of daily meditation practice. If that sounds daunting, approach it incrementally. You don’t have to set aside an hour or two – the regularity is what matters, not so much the length of the meditation. Once you make your ten or fifteen minutes into a daily habit, you’ll find it easier to expand your practice. It’ll feel so good that you will want to stay longer.

4. Dig deep.

You might be having a tough time finding motivation to try something new. Perhaps the problem is that you’ve lost your drive for what you’re already doing. Either way, you have to get down to the root of the issue. Is it fear? Is it a lack of inspiration? Does it relate to some other issue happening in your life? If you want to rediscover the drive that you need for a fulfilling journey, then you have to put in the internal work.

5. Reprioritize.

It’s so easy to get sidetracked in the day-to-day chaos of the hectic world that you live in. Don’t beat yourself up over it. It happens to everyone and most are completely unaware of the problem. They don’t understand why they feel overworked, stressed, and discontent. Sit down and make two lists – one with the activities you engage in that bring you joy, and one with those that cause you stress. Make the decision to incorporate more of those that are joyful and also to put them first as much as possible. Starting with the positive will make those tougher tasks easier to bear.

6. Get moving.

It may be well-worn advice, but it’s true – revving up your heart produces endorphins and motivates you to get the rest of your day in order. If you can stand it, try to start your morning off with some exercise, even if that just means getting outside and taking a walk in the fresh air. If you combine a workout with time in nature, you double the potential benefits. You’re almost guaranteed to be in a better mindset post-exercise.

7. Be brutally honest with yourself.

Is there an actual issue interfering with your motivation, or have you let yourself get lazy? Sometimes the truth is difficult to face. Everyone gets comfortable and complacent, but it’s your job to keep things fresh and rediscover your zest for life. If you don’t have that going for you, what’s even the point, right? Take a good hard look at the underlying problems.

8. Rest – but really, truly rest.

In today’s world most people don’t really take breaks. You may tell yourself something you’re doing counts as “rest”, but odds are you’re still letting the rest of your life interfere with your relaxation. You have to set aside time to honestly let go, and if you’re lucky, there are people around you who can assist you with that. They’ll probably be glad to lend a hand if you express the crucial necessity – and it won’t hurt if you offer to do likewise in the future. There is no shame in relying on those who care for you.

9. Try something wildly outside your comfort zone.

Part of your problem could be a lack of new elements in your life that pique your interest. When you fall into a rut, you must pull yourself out of it – and one way to do that quickly and effectively is to attempt something that scares you. It’ll keep your enthusiasm alive and inspire you to go above and beyond where you are now.

10. Dance!

Seriously. Dancing is incredibly freeing and it brings the best out in everyone. It awakens your inner child and puts a smile on your face – what can possibly be wrong with that? Let everything go and dance like nobody is watching you. Life is too short to care, and nothing feels better than giving your body license to move in the ways that feel primal and true. It’ll take you out of your head and into your heart.

11. If you don’t like your life, step back and try to pinpoint why.

There’s nothing worse than feeling dissatisfied with your existence, but a staggering number of people out there aren’t happy. Most likely you’ve been plodding along and haven’t taken stock of where you are and what’s keeping you from satisfaction. Has something changed, or is the issue that nothing’s changed at all? Figure it out.

12. Be as completely present in the moment as humanly possible.

Your unhappiness could stem from the simple fact that you are living in the past or the future instead of the here and now. If you’re dragging, take note of every moment as it happens, and you’ll forget to worry about anything else. Your inherent motivation lies in the fact that none of us are guaranteed the next month, day, hour, or even minute. Take charge of your life and enjoy it fully as long as you hold its preciousness in your grasp.

12 Ways Introverts Are The Most Confusing People You’ll Ever Meet

See Author Article Here
By Andrea Davis

Introverts get a bad rap. When someone finds out you’re an introvert, a lot of times they automatically assume you don’t like people or being social or that you’re painfully shy. And while those all may be somewhat true, there’s a lot more to you than that.

While introvert personality traits typically include shyness and awkwardness, what’s really hiding beneath the surface?
1. Being super private yet dying to share what’s on your mind with others.

An introvert is usually a very private person and they don’t reveal many things about their personal life with others. But, deep down they really are just waiting for somebody to ask them questions pertaining to life.

2. Projecting a calm exterior while completely falling apart on the inside.

You’re great at hiding your feelings from others. It’s hard for anyone to read what you’re thinking. You put on an act as if everything is just fine when really, your entire world is running haywire.

3. Wanting to stay home alone, yet wanting to go out and be the life of the party.

You love having your alone time and personal space. So, a quiet Friday night at home is ultimately your idea of a perfect night. But, you often dream of being out and about in crowds of people. When the opportunity arises to do that, you quickly snap out of la la land and retreat back into your shell.

4. Being known as the fun, crazy one when you’re around close friends, but being known as the shy and quiet one when you’re around strangers.

And really that’s because only a select few know your true, raw personality.

5. Wanting to hang out with your significant other or friend in the same room but not wanting to actually be social with them.

You’ve had enough social interaction for the day and want some peace and quiet but still want them to be in your vicinity.

6. Being absolutely hysterical and clever while texting or messaging someone online but super awkward and skittish when meeting in real life.

7. Having so many deep thoughts you want to share but never knowing how to say them out loud.

Very few people can understand the thoughts in your head, because TBH sometimes you can’t even understand them yourself.

8. Knowing the answer to a question the teacher asked but you wouldn’t be caught dead actually raising your hand.

The thought of everyone looking at you while you speak is not only terrifying, it’s unthinkable.

9. Wanting to do everything solo so you don’t have to deal with people, but still not wanting to be lonely.

You are perfectly content doing things on your own, but sometimes you get lonely. Loneliness will strike out of the blue. And although you choose to do things by yourself, sometimes all you crave is the company from another person.

10. Wanting to be consoled when you’re upset but wanting to be left alone at the same time.

You like the idea that people are there for you in times of need, but want them to comfort you from afar.

11. Craving deep, profound connections with others, but always finding it difficult to actually open up to them.

You’re someone who wants to make connections that are meaningful, but you can’t seem to give that part of yourself away to someone else.

12. You love being spontaneous but secretly have the need to plan everything out first.

Being free-spirited may be in your blood, but you still have the desire to plan things out before making moves. That means staying in control while simultaneously allowing the universe guide your way.

The Single Most Important Action To Take Right Now To Make You Successful

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By

Throughout the year we make personal commitments of things we want to change for the better. Diets, exercise, family, work, travel etc. For many of us, we take on multiple resolutions with every intention of improving ourselves for the better. Too often, we fail to kick start and sustain the new “US.” Goals become overwhelming and we fall into the trap of never achieving what we set out to do.

The complex formula of success
So much information exists on what success is and how to achieve it. Articles with headings such as “30 Things Successful People Do Differently” capture our attention with the hope of inspiring us to take meaningful action.

The problem is that’s 30 things we are to remember and implement to supposedly achieve success. One article I recently read listed their number one step to success being “Internalizing your locus of control.”

Locus of control? What does that even mean?

These articles can provide meaningful insights but they often overpower us and end up being nothing more than an informative read.

Inspiring? Sometimes. Actionable. No.

Success is not a complex formula. It is far simpler.

Excuses over results
Success can come at any time. We get caught in the trap at looking at success as this grandiose plan that must start and be completed by self-defined timeframes and prescribed results. It becomes so daunting that we give up because we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. As we try to achieve our goals, they don’t come fast enough and we use this as an excuse to give up. We end up being our own worst enemy.

You can either have results or you can have an excuse, but you cannot have both.

Take someone’s plans to lose weight. They set a goal to lose 30 pounds which includes a diet plan and workout regime. They are initially dedicated to working out multiple times a week and stick to a strict meal plan. It’s tough at first but as several weeks go by they start to feel better about themselves. More energy, clothes feeling a little looser and an overall more positive attitude. Then they step on the scale at the end of the month to find they have only lost 2lbs!

The minimal weight loss is deflating after all that dedicated, hard work. They start to lose steam. Workouts get missed. Diets get blown. Before long the excuse “I can’t do this” enters the mind and the weight loss plan is in the scrap bin.

The amazing results achieved in a single month get buried and forgotten. More on those amazing resulting in a minute.

The secret of success: One step
One small step. That is all it is. A single step is all it takes to move towards success. It’s so fundamentally simple and yet so easily overlooked.

It’s the greatest secret never to be told by successful people. We read about other’s success and can’t imagine how we could ever achieve the same. They are so successful and have achieved so many amazing things that we see them in a different league. What we fail to realize is that these successful people all started with a single, first step. Then they took another step and another. Before long they had a mile of steps behind them and the second mile didn’t seem so bad. They kept going and went on to build massive momentum. Always looking forward. Never back.

Sure there are missteps. People outside of the successful stream of consciousness look at missteps as failures. Successful people don’t’ see failure. They see opportunities to learn, reflect and move forward. Always achieving greater success than when they started.

Celebrate each step
Each small step you take is a pause for celebration. Your decision to spend more time with the family. The first day at the gym. Booking that amazing trip abroad. Deciding to make a career change. Those are all small steps worthy of applause

Celebrate each and every step of success along the way.

Imagine how many of us would stick to our weight loss plans if we instead focused on the many positive steps we took in the first month and not the actual loss of weight.

Let’s break it down. Attended the gym. Ate healthy. More energy. Looser clothes. Multiple small steps all worthy of celebration. Each step building on the previous. It’s all about changing your perspective. It’s amazing when you change your frame of mind how you can view something that seemed so insignificant really isn’t. Two pounds is no longer weighing you down. That’s worth celebrating and continuing with your step journey.

You can start your new YOU whenever you chose. Start small and take one little step at a time. Push yourself forward because no one else is going to do it for you. All it takes is a single step.

Clark Glassford is the founder of My Practice Interview. The company’s purpose is to inspire others to achieve their dream career. My Practice Interview provides industry-leading services including tailored resume writing, curated LinkedIn profiles and expert interview coaching delivering results beyond expectations.
www.mypracticeinterview.com

54 Affirmations That Will Help You Break Free From Anxiety And Manifest The Life You Want

See ThoughtCatalog Article Here
By Brianna Wiest

1. I am allowed to feel however I feel today.

2. It is okay to be upset. It is okay to break down. Resisting it is only making me suffer.

3. I am willing to see this change. Even if nothing I have tried has worked before, I am willing to believe that change is possible.

4. I can honor my feelings, but not trust them.

5. I have been anxious before, and nothing bad happened. That’s because there’s something wrong with how I think, not how I am, or how my life is.

6. I am closer than I think I am.

7. I have come farther than I give myself credit for.

8. I will look back on this time of my life and miss it.

9. I am not scared of the future, because the future hasn’t been created yet. My fear is not a crystal ball.

10. The minute I choose to not believe my worry, I dissolve it of its power.

11. When I worry, I attract more worrying to myself. That’s why I always worry about catastrophe, but never actually experience catastrophe. I am focused on fear, not on tragedy, and that is what I am getting more and more of.

12. What I am feeling is normal.

13. How I am responding to these circumstances is the same way anyone in my shoes would.

14. I am not broken, I am just someone who is more aware of what they do and do not want to feel.

15. I do not need to be happy all of the time.

16. I do not need to force myself to stay calm.

17. I am capable of changing the course of my life for the better.

18. I can’t control what thoughts and feelings come up in my body, but I can control whether or not I act in spite of them. It is not my thoughts, but my behaviors, that define my life.

19. I am self-critical because I care about myself. I know I am capable of great things, if I would just step out of my own way.

20. I seek out the worst case scenario because, deep down, I am trying to protect myself.

21. The sooner I allow these feelings to wash over me, the sooner they will pass, and the energy within me will be transformed into motivation and renewed vision.

22. Even if I feel anxious, that does not mean I am off my path.

23. Sometimes when I’ve felt more anxious than ever, I was actually more on the right path than ever. I just didn’t realize it until I looked back.

24. When I start to go after what I really want, I get resistant and stressed. That’s because I know I am vulnerable. It doesn’t mean I am a failure, or that I am incapable.

25. Whatever the opposite of my worst fears is is what I am destined to experience in this life.

26. What would I be like if I weren’t anxious? What would I do today if I weren’t feeling bad? That’s what I will do. That’s how I will be.

27. I forgive myself for anything I haven’t let myself feel.

28. I embrace that every emotion serves an important purpose in my development, with the exception of shame.

29. I understand that shame is a feeling that was created by human beings in order to control one another. Realizing that it does not serve me, I let it go.

30. My thoughts about anxiety are scarier than my feelings. When I really focus on them, I realize that my feelings are only bits of tension that I can definitely withstand.

31. I am allowed to do whatever I need to do to get through this day.

32. I will not shame or hate myself for doing what I need to do to get through this day.

33. I am allowed to rest.

34. I am allowed to change my mind.

35. I do not owe anything to my younger self, or anyone who knew me before this point. I do not have to live up to past expectations to be successful.

36. Nobody else is thinking about me the way that I am thinking about me. In this, I find a sense of freedom.

37. I am not an anxious person, I am someone who experiences anxiety. It does not have to define who I am.

38. I will show up today, as much as I can.

39. When I regain my energy and feel more comfortable in this new chapter of my life, I will be more revitalized, focused and driven than ever before.

40. I allow my body to release that which it has been storing, and does not need.

41. I invite deep, complete healing into my life.

42. I command every cell in my body to release any threads of illness, tensions or disease that are not serving me.

43. I am as healed as I believe that I am.

44. I will retrain my brain to not panic when I feel anxious.

45. I understand that I am not inherently broken, I am traumatized.

46. I understand that though my trauma is not my fault, it is still my problem to deal with. 

47. I am in charge of how my life unfolds.

48. I am responsible for how my life turns out.

49. I do not need to fight feeling anxious. I only need to relax into it, and let it pass on its own.

50. “Feelings, once felt, will change themselves with time.”

51. I will not be anxious forever.

52. But I will always embrace anxiety when it arrives.

53. I am not fighting myself anymore.

54. I will not resist myself ever again.

18 Very Goob Dog Posts From This Week

See Buzzfeed Article Here
By Syd Robinson

1. This lil’ chihuahua stayed up talking until the wee hours of the morning 😏:

Twitter: @spicegirlsam

2. This floof gave us the content we didn’t know we needed (but we NEEDED it!!!!!!!!)

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zzzZZZZzzzzzZ@zoewhiite

now THIS is the kind of content I like to see

322K people are talking about this

3. This pupper was SO HAPPY to be reunited with his hooman!!!

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ells@ellhaworth

So I’ve come back home from uni and today I took my dog on our first walk together since being back and he won’t stop looking up at me like this

88.3K people are talking about this

4. This doggito #swerved this other doggito so hard that we honestly deserve an instant replay:

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jedi master@sammurillo505

LMAOOO everyone deserves to see this

73.3K people are talking about this

5. Missy here graced us with her gorgeous double chins, thus proving she has NO 👏 BAD 👏 ANGLES 👏:

6. This sweetie did a lil’ dance around the kitchen:

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Hailey@hailey_curtis07

I have the coolest dog

169K people are talking about this

7. We witnessed the aftermath of a “big ass crash”:

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baddie@brokenbaddie

so we all in the living room and we hear a big ass crash…

95.8K people are talking about this

8. HE COMMUTED:

9. This sweet bb gurl did a ~sit bacc and relacc~:

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WeRateDogs™

@dog_rates

This is Prosecco. She doesn’t mind bath time as long as you hold her steady. Likes to let the water run over her feets. 14/10 I love her so much

38.6K people are talking about this

10. This baby said, “HI PAPI!!!!!!!”

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Edina 🕊@lmaoedina

My dad just sent me this video

66.6K people are talking about this

11. This introverted boye just wanted to peacefully watch the game with some brews:

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Tom Zohar@TomZohar

Me at a party, dissociating and staring at the TV instead of talking to anyone

593 people are talking about this

12. This working boye reported for duty IN UNIFORM:

Twitter: @AnnaMoGo

13. This video is so sad, but it’s just proof that dogs are infinitely loyal creatures who we don’t deserve, but were blessed with anyway 💖:

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R🦋@oct26bby

My dog of 11 years died yesterday, and today when I went outside to feed my other dog, he went to burry his food where his brother is buried and was sobbing the whole time💔 my heart really hurts😢

138K people are talking about this

14. He had — dun dun dun — THE SPINS!!!!!!!!!!!

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WeRateDogs™

@dog_rates

This is Cadogan. He’s had the same morning routine for the last 13 years. Knows exactly how many spins it takes to get to breakfast. 13/10

21.4K people are talking about this

15. Doug the Pug gave us the gift of Pug ASMR™:

Instagram: @itsdougthepug

16. THIS PUP JUST EXISTED AND THE INTERNET IMPLODED WITH LOVE AND AFFECTION:

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🇧🇧@balmainshvm

Imagine someone dropped him off at your door, you keeping him ?

32.8K people are talking about this

17. He flawlessly ~burritoed~:

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alyssa hiple@OhHipleDay7

Swear on my life, Oscar will not leave the house if I don’t roll him up like this every single time. 😂

83.4K people are talking about this

18. And lastly, he took care of a friend in need 💖💖💖:

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

JustJanis 💃@jsavite

So my friend’s vet has a comfort-dog assistant that helps sick patients know that everything will be alright and this is really all you need to see today ❤️🐾

94.7K people are talking about this