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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Gratitude and the Power of Now, Emotional Penicillin

Gratitude is a fascinating and rare emotion. It's cousin, humility, is found in even shorter supply. When you blend gratitude with humility, whatever your scale in life might be, you will find yourself with a powerful emotional anecdote.

I once heard a speaker say that his short term depression was brought about by an over active mind that required one precursor-which was boredom. The other three ingredients for his short term depression were not having someone to love, having nothing useful to do, and having nothing to look forward to.

What he said stopped me dead in my tracks. I did not hear another word he said for 15 minutes. Why? Because what he said was absolutely true for me. And as I recalled every recent fit of depression, I found the boredom precursor and at least two of those three ingredients absent in my life as I fought through those fits of depression.

Over the next six months, until it became easily recognizable, the same pattern repeated itself. There were additional stressers at times, a death here and there, problems with money and my exterior world, deadlines and other events that I cannot control.

What I was able to do in those 6 months became my remedy for overcoming depression. I can truthfully admit that I very rarely feel the long episodes of depression that I use to endure. They are fleeting now, unmasked quickly by a conscious mind.

Now there are dietary cures, key nutritional deficiencies for sure. Alcohol is clearly a major obstacle that brings about depression. Having taken care of those items, I focused on and found a solution.

It was gratitude and the power of now, courtesy of Eckhart Tolle. It doesn't matter what order you apply those two things. I have used gratitude for small fits of depression. For depression accompanied by extreme stressful events, I add the POWER of now. This is how I do it.

Whenever I find myself feeling fearful, or self pitying, when I am bored and missing those key ingredients that are causing my depression, I focus on gratitude. Grateful for the things that are going well in my life. Things such as a little money, shelter, clothing, food, and transportation. I am grateful for my health and my friends. I am grateful for the simplest pleasures. A television, the neighbors cat purring along side me, and I am grateful for a loving God. I also know that my PERCEPTION and WILL create my reality- which then becomes my truth. Gratitude then becomes the basis for the ultimate power of positive thinking. Things start to turn around immediately.

If I have events in my life that are causing me a great deal of fear and anxiety, I go one step further. In addition to gratitude, I focus on right NOW.

Simply stated, my mind can only conjure up fear from two sources. One is the past-whether it was mistakes I've made or just circumstances that baffled me. The other source is the future. Fear of the future, disease, death of loved ones, or perhaps my own death. Perhaps it is a job interview or something as simple as a speaking engagement or a party that I don't want to attend but must.

If I know remorse comes from my past thoughts, and anxiety comes from my thoughts of the future- I simply eliminate those two sources. I narrow my focus to the present moment. Right now, I am writing, typing, and trying to convey how this thought process works. And because that is all that I am focused on NOW...I am not thinking about something in my past that I screwed up, nor am I worrying about some future event going awry.

This works.

Gratitude and a little humility. If the depression is significant enough, I call on the Power of Now. And sooner, rather than later, I am centered and focused on the good things in my life. My anxiety and depression are lifted. Emotional penicillin for the mind.

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