Beat Depression

3 Character Traits that Beat Depression

istock_gratitudebHave you ever wondered why some people just seem to be naturally happy while others are prone to bouts of sadness and depression? No one’s life is perfect (whether it appears to be from the outside or not), but it is true that certain personality types tend to lend themselves to higher levels of joy and contentment. Don’t worry, though. If you happen to be one of those people who struggle with anxiety or depression, it doesn’t mean that you were born to be miserable. You can build the character traits associated with feelings of happiness. So, just which traits are those? Read on to find out!

• Self-Confidence
It should come as no surprise that depression and low self-esteem are interrelated. It’s hard to be happy about your life if you’re not happy with yourself. Logic would dictate then that to beat depression, you first need to tackle these feelings of self-doubt. Luckily, there are strategies you can use to build your self-image, including meditation methods that employ self-affirmations. When you feel yourself slipping into self-defeating thought patterns, try to recall a time when you felt successful. Close your eyes and travel back to that place in your mind. Then, describe the positive feelings you experienced in that moment. For instance, you might say “I feel empowered” or “Success is mine.” Reflecting on times when you felt triumphant can serve as a reminder of what you are capable of achieving. In addition to meditation methods, you can also take a proactive approach to building your self-image. Challenge yourself by taking up a new hobby or participate in a friendly competition. Prove to yourself that you’re capable of success.

• Gratitude
When you’re feeling down, it’s easy to shine a light on your problems and push the positive things in your life out of sight. People with high levels of gratitude tend to be happier, however, so this can be a self-defeating habit. Turn it around by taking purposeful steps toward a more appreciative attitude. Try meditation methods that focus on gratitude or keep a gratitude journal listing the things that you’re grateful for each day. Becoming more gracious won’t make your problems go away, but it could shift your perspective enough to help you beat depression back.

• Optimism
Do you wake up every morning dreading what the day holds? If so, then your anxiety or mood disturbances have taken a toll on your general attitude toward life. It happens to the best of us! Unfortunately, a pessimistic attitude will only make your circumstances seem even worse than they actually are. Plus, people who expect the best out of life usually get it. Coincidence? Not hardly! There are plenty of meditation methods that can help foster a more optimistic outlook. Start practicing them and take note of how your mood—and your life in general—improve.

It’s an illusion to think that other people have ideal lives. In fact, that kind of thinking can lead to self-pity and make your depression even worse. Instead of envying someone else’s circumstances, start building the kind of character that invites happiness and wellbeing. Knowing that you can be a happier person is an empowering realization that can lift your mood instantly and eventually help you beat depression once and for all.

Deal With Stress

3 Ways to Maintain Positive Focus (Even When Your Life is a Mess!)

Natchez Trail Through ForestDo you ever feel like everything is your life is negative? We all have times in our lives when everything seems to be going wrong, and during those times, it can be very easy to lose perspective. The temptation to curl up in a corner or pull the sheets over our heads is something that everyone has experienced at some time or another—whether we’d like to admit it or not. Instead of succumbing to the temptation, though, there are some coping strategies you can use to get through this hectic or emotional time in your life without losing your positive outlook.

                     1.       Focus on the small things.

Yes, we’ve been told not to sweat the small stuff, and that’s excellent advice. However, it’s not wise to ignore every minute detail. Sometimes when all the big things in your life seem to be falling apart (think finances, relationships, etc.), it can be very grounding to focus in on the things that are going right, however small they may seem. Are you thankful for the smell of freshly brewed coffee in the morning or a fall day that’s not too hot and not too cold? Though they may appear insignificant compared to the looming problems in your life, don’t make the mistake of ignoring them. You’d be surprised at how a moment of gratitude (over anything at all!) can transform your entire day.

                     2.       Reach out to others.

Many of us pride ourselves on holding things together even when things get tough. Determination and perseverance are great attributes, but when you find yourself struggling to keep a smile on your face, it may be time to reach out to those people in your life who you can count on to help. Not only will this ease the burden caused by excessive stress, but it will also serve as a reminder that you have a circle of support. We weren’t meant to do this life alone, so don’t try to. Reach out to those around you and allow yourself to feel gratitude for them. If you feel a tug of guilt, remind yourself that they too are benefiting from lending a helping hand.

                     3.       Find moments of quiet.

When problems arise in our lives, we often find ourselves scurrying around (either mentally or physically) trying to fix things. Though this is a natural human response, it can sometimes do more harm than good. What we really need in these tough times is the opportunity to experience quiet—to be alone with our true selves, whether it be through prayer or meditation or both. Practicing quiet on a regular basis can put you back in touch with your authentic self—you know, the one who is steadfast and untouched by these surface-level problems that have you feeling like you’re losing it!

When our lives get messy, it’s easy to get caught up in the drama. Don’t! Remember, everything in this life is temporary, so this too shall pass! Making an intentional effort to stay positive through tough times is a great spiritual practice and will pay off by granting you more strength and peace in the long run. As hard as it may be in the moment, make an effort to be thankful for these experiences that will leave you better off in the long run.

How do you maintain a positive focus in the midst of life’s ups and downs? Share your tips with us. Also, if you benefited at all from this article, be sure to share it with your friends!