Depression sucks. Really, it sucks -- it sucks the life out of you! When you're depressed, you don't want to do anything! You question your existence, you get snappy with your loved ones, you go into seclusion, eat a bunch of snacks (or maybe you don't eat period), and listen to a bunch of heart-break songs on the radio!
But do you know what depression really is? At the base level, it has NOTHING to do with your emotions. Depression in itself is a physical response based on how well balanced your mood stabilizers are.
Imagine that you have a balance scale, like the ones you see on images that represent law and justice. Or just imagine a see-saw. Now on those scales, you ought to have an equal amount of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which are your main mood stabilizers.
If the weights on the scale are equal, then you will feel:
Now, if your scale is OFF BALANCE, then that is when so-called depression hits, and you'll feel:
The key to feeling at peace is to keep your scale well-balanced. When you do things or get involved in something that throws off this balance, you will be a generally depressed person.
Now, depression is either apparent or non-apparent. If you lose your job or lose a loved one, then that's apparent depression. There is an outside cause for your depression. That outside force just threw off your balance scale. When someone asks you what's wrong, you could tell them exactly what's going on that caused your depression.
But then, there's the more prevalent non-apparent depression. This is the tricky one. This is depression that seems to have no cause. You're just depressed for no reason! So, what would you do? Go to the doctor. He would look you over, find nothing physically wrong with you, and just diagnose you with "clinical depression" -- which indicates that your depression is severe enough to disrupt your daily living activities.
But before we just drive to the doc's office to be prescribed some "happy pills," we need to get back to the basics: nutrition.
Your body was designed to need six essential elements in order to survive: vitamins, minerals, fats, protein, carbohydrates, and water. Guess what? Most of us in the United States (or any Westernized country) don't do well in getting all these essential elements. The United States is one of the nations that leads the world in depression rates -- and is also one of the leading nations for sickness!
Why do we in the U.S. are so unhealthy? Well, we just don't eat healthy! Not surprisingly, there are tons of depressed people in this nation. I bet you know at least 3 people who seem depressed for no reason!
When you lack nutrition, your moods would be off balance. This would create depression.
But let's go to basics number two: stress.
If you truly want to kill your moods, then just stress out about something. Stress out about money, kids, marriage, career, school, just stress out about that stuff and you'll be depressed in no time.
One of the stress hormones that we produce is cortisol, which helps you get away from dangerous situations. It's a "fight or flight" hormone and should only last for a few seconds. But when in overdrive, this hormone would wind up breaking down your muscles, bones, and throw your moods off balance -- that is, you'll get depressed more often as long as your cortisol levels are high.
Ah, but let's go to basics number three: general lifestyle.
Dirty house, smoking, drinking, living life on the edge, these things could throw your moods off balance. Celebrities are usually good at being depressed, despite all the money they have. Why? Because they live a stressful lifestyle: always being watched, always going on tours, always being followed by paparazzi, etc. Some celebrities blow their money, turn to drugs, or turn to alcohol trying to find peace.
Having a dirty house is depressing. Don't believe me? Clean up your house and see how you feel afterwards!
Drinking and drug abuse is depressing. Don't believe me? Ride along with a cop and you'll find out very quickly how people's lives are ruined due to drugs and alcohol.
You see, you weren't designed to live on little nutrition, to be overly stressed out, and to live a crazy lifestyle. But what do we do in the United States? All of the above! And it all starts at a young age.
But you know, we weren't conditioned to think about the basics. All we know how to do is to see something wrong with us, hit the doc's office, and get a pill to fix everything. Is this the kind of life you want to live, a life where you have to get a pill for everything that's wrong with you?
When you get depressed and can't find a cause for it, don't panic just yet. Go back to the basics and see if you need to adjust anything. You'd be surprised at the way you're living: little nutrition, lots of stress, and a bad general lifestyle.
By the way, do you know what antidepressant medications are suppose to do in general? Help boost your serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine levels.
Question: can you not boost these mood stabilizers in another way besides pills?
I have a secret. I don't always like working out! Shhhh!!!
Heck, there are plenty of times where I'd much rather laze around than to work hard. Don't tell anybody about that either!
So, why do I still teach fitness classes and attend other instructors' classes? Because even though I may not always like working out, I always LOVE why I do it.
You will either love what you do or love why you do it. It's more important to love WHY you do what you do, and if you happen to also love WHAT you do, then that's a big bonus!
You see, one of the reasons we don't always get what we desire is because we don't like doing certain things. Yes, we want to lose weight but HATE exercising and hate eating healthy. Yes, we want to make money to supply our needs but HATE our jobs. Yes, we want a clean house, but HATE the part where we have to clean!
So guess what? If we don't like what we do, we would just don't do it. But guess what happens? We don't get what we desire either!
You know what? In this life, we won't always do what we enjoy. There are times we need to do things that aren't pleasurable, but if you focus on WHY you're doing these activities, then those activities may not seem so bad.
I almost hate lifting weights! I bet you didn't know that! Man, it's almost drudgery to lift a barbel! But why do I do it? To keep my muscles strong and healthy. To look fit. To be an example. And besides, it's not as if I lift weights all day. The actual weight-lifting activity is pretty short, so I think I could bear the pain of lifting weights.
Some of you hate exercising, but think about what would happen if you don't do any exercises:
Exercising doesn't seem so bad now, does it?
No, you don't like getting up early to go to work at a soul-sucking job. But think about:
Your job doesn't seem so bad now, does it?
In order to bear the activities that you don't enjoy, you need to intensify your love for WHY you do them. Don't force yourself to like what you do. Just focus on WHY you're doing it.
Now, this doesn't mean that you need to stay where you are. If you hate your job and can't bring yourself to love it, then find another job. But UNTIL you get another job, focus on why you're still doing your current job.
Maybe the exercises that you're doing is dreadful! But until you find something that you do enjoy, then focus on why you're still exercising. Heck, I HATE running! But I made myself run for a while until I've found something that I did enjoy doing.
Maybe you much rather eat cake and ice cream all day. You don't care for carrot sticks and celery! But until you find a better way to enjoy the healthier foods, then focus on WHY you're still eating like a rabbit.
You don't have to spend your life being miserable because of the things you have to do. We need to make money. We need to take care of our bodies. We need to maintain our homes. We need to do plenty of things that are beneficial but not enjoyable. However, if we spend more time thinking about WHY we're doing something, then life won't seem so bad after all.
When you think about being content, you think about settling for less, not pursuing better things in life, and to force yourself to be happy with circumstances that are truly making you miserable.
But that's not real contentment. Being content is simply being thankful for the small blessings in your life, because you know that without those blessings, your life would truly be hard to live.
One lesson I'm teaching my kids is to learn how to be thankful for what they get. You know how kids are: despite giving them what they want, they would always find something else to complain about. You could overlook this for a while, but if you keep overlooking this, then they would continue to be ungrateful well into their adulthood.
So, any time my kids decide to complain about something, I would ask them, "Do you want me to take away what you already have?" Of course, they would say no. Then I would say, "Be thankful for what you get!"
You see, I want my kids to understand that they can't have everything they want. They need to be thankful for whatever they could get.
But in this Westernized society (particularly, American society), we are a nation that believes you could get ANYTHING you want if you work hard for it. Not only that, but we believe that you OUGHT to get whatever you want! Want a beautiful, smoking-hot wife? Don't settle for Betsy Blue! Get that smoking-hot Jane! Want a super rich husband? Don't settle for the plumber! Go out and get Mr. Money! Want a big house? Fast car? Lots of money? Don't settle! Get what you want!
However, reality is that you can't always get what you want. Yes, the few who seem to have everything they want are the exception in the world. Most of us, even if we were rather wealthy, can't have everything that we want.
But then again, why should you want everything in the world? There's a Bible passage that says, "None of us brought anything into this world, and we certainly can't take anything out of this world" (1st Timothy 6:7). Why try to gain the whole world when you can't take any of it with you?
But, the apostle says, "if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that" (verse 8).
But EVERYBODY needs food, clothing, and shelter to survive. These you ought to be content with, because without them, life would truly be hard for you.
You think your life is hard now. You're working SO much just to keep your head above the water. Question: do you have food, clothing, and shelter? Be content!
But your car is always having mechanical issues! Now the engine light is on! Question: do you still have a car to drive? Does it get you to where you NEED to be? Be content!
But your kids are driving you INSANE! You barely get a break and your spouse, who is the one who works outside the home, barely helps you around the house. Question: are your kids healthy? Are your bills paid? Do you have a roof over your head? Are your kids starving? Do they go places with shoes on their feet? Be content!
No, being content doesn't mean you shouldn't strive for better. If you hate your job, you're welcome to look for another one. But until you find another job, be content with the one you have.
If you could find a better car, do so! But until you find one, be content with the clunker that you have.
You may not like the area you live in. Too much crime! Until you move to a better neighborhood, be content that you actually have a place to come home to. There's always the alternative: living out on the streets!
Look around you and note the small blessings that you have. Be content with these blessings, because without them, your life would really be hard. You don't need to settle for less, but while you are striving for better, be thankful for the little that you have so that when you do hit it big, you won't forget to be happy with the little things in life!
All information in this blog are for inspirational purposes only. Unless otherwise stated, all content is written and copyrighted by Aiyo A. Jones.