Depression and anxiety can hit anyone at any time.
I’d be willing to bet that many of you reading this article have this problem right now.
I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety for a good part of my adult life.
However, at around age 30 I finally developped a way of coping with it so that it never drags me down again.
At nearly 43 years of age, here is what I have learned.
Harnessing Your Mind
I have come to believe that depression stems mostly from self induldence.
It follows then that you can CHOOSE to solve this problem yourself with some specific strategies.
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Step 1: Take Responsibility For Your Problems
I adopted a default position that everything negative that happens to me in my life is MY FAULT.
Think about that for a second. The implications are profound.
It is a tough world view. But I believe that you can trace negative events back to a source, and in the majority of cases, it can be attributed to a bad decision that you made, or a lack of action in solving a problem.
And if it can’t? Tough shit. Deal with it and stop bitching and whining. The world doesn’t care.
Taking responsibility has benefitted me very well by toughening me up.
When things go wrong, I immediately say to myself : what could I have done better? Why did this screw up? How can I prevent it happening again?
Can I publically admit I was at fault, and apologise unreservedly? If so then I do it, immediately.
In my view this isn’t weakness, it’s strength. To do it, you have to disassociate your ego attachment to being “right”, and instead deal with what is happening in REALITY.
Takeaway: Start addressing your problems by taking responsibility. Trace back to where you screwed up.
Step 2: Just start moving your body
Jordan Peterson has now become famous for his practical advice in his book “rules for life.” Probably the most well known piece of advice that is attributed to him is “clean your room”.
It’s practical and simple advice but I can see what he is driving it and I agree with it.
It basically boils down to getting out of a rut by doing SOMETHING, even if it is only moving your body (through exercise), or in Petersons case cleaning your room.
I believe you can use hardships and difficulties to build resolve and courage.
There are not many problems in life that cannot be dealt with by taking a detached, clear eyed logical assesment of the problem…Then taking massive action to solve it.
Now that you’ve taken responsibility, start taking action. Go to the gym, exercise.
Go for a walk. Just move your body and do something.
Step 3: Take Action (With Example From My Recent Life)
I believe your mind that is your greatest asset. Petersons advice about cleaning your room is a short circuit to getting your mind whirring back into life and solving your problems.
By moving your body it seems to kickstart productive thought.
I’ll use an example from my recent life to illustrate this. I had to come back to the UK in April of 2018 for financial reasons- just under 6 months ago. I was at my lowest ebb for many years.
Taking resonsibility: I realised where I had gone wrong.
Movement:I also took regular walks to clear my head (moving my body).
Action phase: Within 2 months of being back in the UK I decided to resurrect this website.
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I’d already had about 6 other ideas, but this was the best one.
Now 3 months later I’m at the point where I can resume my former life, with much more assurance about my financial situation.
I’m back to Kiev on October 3rd.
By taking responsibility, moving my body and then taking action I was able to dig myself out of a deep hole.
Takeaway: Anyone can do this but you start by moving your body and harnessing the power of your brain.
The Key To This Empowering Process
The key is movement, detachment, and practical step by step problem solving. You will find when you take this approach you will find reserves of courage and ingenuity that you never knew you had.
In addition to bringing my dating website back, I’ve also started another long term project that is showing encouraging signs of bearing fruit (i.e. making money)
I made a decision to never let myself hit rock bottom again and to solve my financial problems once and for all.
Whilst your problems may be different, you too can solve them by taking this approach.
I promise you that virtually no problem is intractable.
I thik the ability to be cool and detached and face your problems with courage and spirit is a muscle.
Keep exercising this muscle and you will eventually be able to deal with whatever life throws at you.
A Character Trait That Makes You Attractive To Women
Finally, bear in mind that women look for this quality too. It’s not flashy or superb game, but toughness and competence becomes very clear to women very quickly.
For older guys this is one of your trump cards. When you’re on a date with a girl, she’ll pick this up from you within 5 – 10 minutes and will find herself drawn to you.
It all starts with moving your ass, taking action and waking up swinging every day. You have to develop the ability to FIGHT.
Don’t tell me you cannot do it – any man can. It’s one of the greatest feelings a man can have to look back through tough times and know that he dragged himself out of it against a cold and unyielding world.
Finding Your Passion
In my previous career, I kind of carved a niche working in IT… But I never enjoyed it. I had no PASSION for it.
I had no interest in it. I was never going to be world class at it. For me, this was a daily struggle which gradually eroded my joie de vivre.
This was a contributory factor in setting up my dating website. I got the chance to talk about what I am actually good at, and I am actually HELPING people.
The difference in my day to day life since taking the decision to move and set up my own business has been profound.
Takeaway: Find your passion if you can and pursue it.
External Factors: Work And Location
It took a while to dawn on me, but my work and location was a big contributory factor towards depression. For most of my life prior to moving to London, I felt like a square peg in a round hole.
My work life forced me to surround myself with people who I just had nothing in common with, and, frankly, I found that they dragged me down. I wanted no part of their world view.
I lived all over the UK prior to moving to London. The Midlands, North East, Portsmouth and other places.
I grew to detest it. I didn’t find many girls attractive enough (this is still an issue in London but it’s not as bad), and I also I found outside of London the world view is just so..small and parochial.
Fundamentally, I needed to be in a big city, with smarter, more “interesting” people, more going on, and hotter girls.
Takeaway: Figure out a way to build passive income and move where you feel you belong.
Relationships With Other People
This could equally be called “relaxing standards and boundaries”.
One of my biggest sources of frustrations and upset was a feeling of being let down by other people, men and women.
I had to learn to swallow a bitter pill and realise that fundamentally, the vast majority of people just don’t care. They are too busy in dealing with their own shit to fit in with your standards and boundaries.
I had to relax my expectations of what a friendship is. For example, I have a pet peeve for people who persistently turn up late and take it personally. I still feel this way now by the way.
Because I hold myself to very strict and high standards of integrity and behaviour, I naturally expect the same of others…Unfortunately, the vast majority of people are just not like this.
Previously I would get annoyed or emotional. What I try to do nowadays is cut them some slack, because I have found that everyone has some great qualities that I can appreciate.
I still have very strong standards and boundaries. I never take any shit off anyone, period. I have some that are inviolate, and if you cross them…Beware. But others I have had to relax with – such as turning up late, etc.
Managing Interpersonal Relationships
(i) Give everyone a shot initially. Accord respect to everyone you meet.
(ii) If they subsequently fall short – if they don’t stick to their word, or persistently turn up late etc – adjust your expectations of them and never put yourself in a position where you have to rely on them.
Either that, or make a decision to cut them out of your life completely.
This rests on an ability to manage your emotions.
You’ll find that as you toughen up, you’ll develop an ability to cut off your emotions if a person (man or woman) is a source of emotional distress.
Let your relationships get to a certain point and do everything you can to rectify things – but if it is just not working out…
And never give it a seconds thought afterwards.
This has served me well in interpersonal relationships because I know that I can always rely on myself to deal with difficulties, and I don’t “need” anyone.
Can you imagine the effect this has on your game? Total non – neediness. When you become master of your own ship, you are in charge and you don’t “need” anyone to keep her afloat 😉
There is more to be said on this subject.
Start off by taking action, moving your body and harnessing the power of your brain.
You will find that depression melts away. Over time, you’ll develop the ability to spot warning signs that you are slipping into destructive modes of thought and behaviour, and correct course quickly.
In my view, this is the key to long term management of depression.