“With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world”.
– Dalai Lama
What Are Anxiety and Depression?
This might seem like a silly question to ask. After all, we are told repeatedly from various sources that anxiety and depression are mental illnesses. We are often told this is caused by a chemical imbalance.
What if I were to tell you differently? Would you believe me?
This might be hard. It might be difficult to challenge mainstream beliefs and opinions.
When we are growing up, we believe what we are told by those around us. We learn to trust the opinion of those who are influential in our lives – parents, teachers, the media, doctors, and elders. We take these beliefs as absolute truths.
We naturally take on the beliefs of the majority; we are human.
Change happens when someone or a group of people challenge these societal norms.
What tends to happen is that someone has an experience that does not fit with the messages that are shared by the vast majority. There can be a lot of controversy surrounding these challenges to the status quo.
The term mental illness implies that there is something wrong with you. That what you experience with anxiety and depression is unnatural and inappropriate. When we take these views on, we look for a quick fix to solve the problem.
There is no doubt that anxiety and depression are very real. Anyone who has experienced the depths of despair that each of these brings will know that you feel it physically, mentally, and spiritually.
There is no question that they are what you least want in your life.
The majority of us want to be happy. We want to be free from the struggles of daily life. The only problem is we are unsure how to get there.
Where there is doubt there is fire. To be free from the daily struggles, the aches, the pains, the depression, anxiety we must lift ourselves to a place of better understanding.
There is no-one but ourselves that can set us free from these miseries. There is no one but ourselves that can bring all of these symptoms to an end.
We can learn to see them for what they are really are. A sure sign that we are ready to make changes to the world that we have created. There is no reason why you have to accept that views that are holding you back.
The way to escape this is to realize that what you experience is a natural part of your existence.
Whether the feelings are good or bad they happen for a reason. You may have to dig deep to find what that reason is but I can tell you that it is there all the same. Always.
We will never be free until we find what that reason is and seek to understand our motivations and aspirations.
We tend to hold ourselves back when we reach this crucial point in our life. If we were not so scared for our safety we would take the opportunity that this provides.
Our Internal GPS System
This is when we have the opportunity to grow. When we see that the symptoms of anxiety and stress are actually communicating to us. They are like our own internal navigation system (GPS).
When we start to experience the uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, we can learn to see them for what they really are. It’s an internal program that is doing its best to keep us on track.
If we veer off course our GPS system will alert us in whichever way needed through our mind, body and spirit. This is a completely natural process. There is nothing unnatural about it.
Any messages that this is otherwise the case are false. We are highly sophisticated and even when we appear to experience adversity we are still working towards our higher good.
This will always be the case, whether we choose to believe it or not. There is not anything or anyone working against you.
It is your own internal GPS doing its very best to communicate to you, even if you have been afraid to hear.
We can wake up and listen anytime we like. There is no need to be afraid of what we might find.
When we open our hearts and listen we will be supported.
How to Listen?
- Learn to listen to yourself over the opinion of anyone else. If it doesn’t feel right for you, trust your feelings.
- Accept what you are feeling rather than trying to fight it.
- Do not fear that you are going mad or that you are insane. These fearful thoughts are what keeps us stuck in destructive cycles.
- Resist the temptation to look outside of yourself for something to make you feel better. When we do this the relief tends to be short lived. The only way to feel good longer-term is to feel better is to work on the inside.
- Also, resist the temptation to become dependent on anything to help suppress your feelings – alcohol, drugs, unhealthy relationships can all be used as a crutch to “get through”.
- Learn about the power of your mind and thoughts and the impact these are having on what you are currently experiencing.
- Do what you can to raise your vibration so that you can hear yourself. Diet, exercise, environment, relationships, emotional baggage all have an impact on our ability to really hear.
- Find ways to express your emotions and to deal with issues from the past that you are still holding on to. Anxiety and depression happen for a reason. You need to feel safe to explore these reasons in a safe environment to let go of them. There are also many creative ways that we can channel our emotions – writing, acting, singing, painting. Again, you need to find something that works for you, preferably what brings you joy. “Anything that makes you feel good is always going to be drawing in more” Dr John Gray.
About the Author
Kelly Niven has what most people would describe as unwavering faith, drive and determination.