“I once went down into the black hole of depression”, a close friend revealed to me recently. “I was scared of everything, always negative, and had no appetite for food or life. I’m determined to never go there again.”
That clear determination has never wavered. She pulled herself out of those dark feelings and showed that to be determined is good for your health.
What prompted my friend to escape from the clutches of depression? It was the moment when she realised that her unhappy mental state was worrying her children. “Right then”, she said “I knew I had to work harder.”
So she decided to get out of the ever-deepening abyss of black thinking by being proactive – being determined to explore every avenue aimed at achieving mental and emotional freedom.
Listen to positive messages. Be encouraged.
In speaking of her journey out of the “pit of gloom”, my friend recalled one of her more unusual approaches to achieving good mental health.
“I used to watch an American preacher on afternoon TV. She spoke about taking responsibility for your own emotions and to focus on pampering yourself into being healthy again – not to rely on medication to do it all for you. She helped me a lot because I could relate to her words of encouragement.”
Listen to words of encouragement. Be heartened by them.
Replace negative thoughts with positive, healthy ones.
Don’t ruminate, reiterate or speculate over dark thoughts, or wonder where they come from.
Cultivate happiness and health by celebrating the little victories in life.
Follow Dr Susan Weinschenk’s advice and “take time to notice the things that go right” – a smile from a stranger, an unexpected thank you. Doing this, “means we’re getting a lot of little rewards throughout the day. That can help with our moods.”
Break open the gloom. Persevere.
Often dark thinking can appear to be as solid as a rock. Despite one’s best efforts it can seemingly remain unbreakable. Yet constant blows of optimistic, positive, and yes, even spiritual thinking, can crack apart those negative feelings. It just takes determined perseverance
There’s a story of a man who wanted to break up a large rock in his garden. Although he struck it 100 times with a sledge hammer, the rock remained intact. Finally, he gave up in frustration.
A neighbour who’d been watching him asked if he could have a go. He hit the rock. Instantly it fell apart. “How come I couldn’t crack it open?” the man cried.
“Well”, replied the neighbour, “actually you did all the hard work. If you’d just persevered and given it one last blow, you’d have cracked it open yourself.”
- Persevere. Remain determined to succeed.
- Enact the proverb, “If at first you don’t succeed try, try again.”
- Don’t be defeatist.Keep going. Stay mentally active.
- Keep your mental eye on the high goal. Don’t count your footsteps in getting there.
Be tortoise-like. Succeed
Sometimes slow progress can lead to discouragement. This can emotionally hamper one’s efforts to overcome despondency. However, not feeling fast enough on one’s mental feet, doesn’t mean failure. It’s possible to take up the challenge and beat the blues.
One of Aesop’s famous fables illustrates this point. A slow moving tortoise who was continually teased by a fast-running hare, challenged him to a race. The hare, who was sure he’d win, took a nap, stopped for breakfast, then fell asleep. He woke up just in time to see the tortoise cross the finish line ahead of him.
The encouraging message of this story could be this: a slow but steady-as-you-go mental action, wins the day. It’s successful. This highlights the prize-winning combination of steadfast determination and calm persistence.
- Be a winner over dejection. Be determined.
- Be firm, unwavering in your resolve to win the prize of good mental health and happiness.
- Be one of those individuals who either, “gain good rapidly and hold their position, or attain slowly and yield not to discouragement” as Mary Baker Eddy wrote in Science and Health.
- Believe that through determined, hope-filled thinking, you will emerge triumphant.