Stress and Depression – It All Depends on How You Look at It


How we create our problems

Many people believe that problems (such as losing a job, a divorce, dire financial straits, etc.) are the cause of depression, anxiety, addictions and phobias. While this may appear to be the case on the surface, this belief is nothing but an illusion. Let me give you an example:

A man called Sam sufferers depression because his wife walks out on him, or so he thinks. If that was true, every man who had had a wife leave him would get depressed. In reality, the beliefs that Sam formed when his wife left him created his depression …

It works like this: Event – Belief – Outcome.

Let's take this a little further. Jane loses her job, and she forms a belief: "I am no good"; "I am useless": "I will never find another job." Jane becomes depressed. Jane has created or accepted a negative belief after losing her job, and it guides her future.

Now look at John. John's wife leaves him, and John jumps for joy. Hurray! Now he can find someone who truly loves him!

And Susan is made redundant. She jumps for joy! Hurray! Now she can take a break, find a better job and make more money.

Both John and Susan created positive beliefs after what many people would perceive to be a negative event. And, as a result, their future looks much brighter than Jane and Sam's did.

It is not what happens to us that creates the problems; in other words, it is not the 'event'. It is what we do with the experience that makes the difference. Sometimes we can look back to a past experience, which seems horrific at the time, and realize that it was, in fact, a good and positive thing. Since the event, we have formed positive new beliefs and literally reframed the whole experience.

We can do that now, in response to any event in our lives. We simply have to find the 'silver lining', see the positive, and then focus on believing it. Here's how …

How To Find Your Silver Lining …

1. Write down a recent event that has left you feeling a little depressed, anxious or angry.

2. Write down the beliefs you hold about that past event.

3. Now, think about how awful and terrible it was.

4. Next, think about how you can turn it into a positive. For example, what have you learned from this experience that could help you in the future? Has it freed you to do something else with your life? Has it shocked you into making changes you had been a receiver or too lazy to make? Ask yourself what positives there are.

5. Now consider how to find ways to change your beliefs about the event. Close your eyes and go inside. Allow yourself to be comfortably relaxed. Have an inner dialogue with the part of you that thinks it's awful and the part of you that can see, and feel, some positive side to it. Look at it from many different angles. Focus on how you can work it to your advantage. Work at putting it in a new, more positive frame.

Remember, our problems are caused, not by what happens to us, but what we tell ourselves about it. It is the beliefs we hold about the problem. When we are able to challenge or re-frame those beliefs we can quickly change the way we feel about the situation. And that's the secret of making positive and new changes in our lives and actively avoiding the feelings of depression.