When I was growing up, there were hundreds of acres of woods behind my father’s house. Dad and I spent a whole lot of time in those woods. We were always back there mushroom hunting, hiking, setting up trail cameras, riding four wheelers, or just plain goofing off. However, during my sophomore year in high school, a massive fire tore through those woods. We had a particularly dry autumn that year, so when someone flicked a cigarette out their car window, that was all it took to set the whole thing ablaze.
I remember feeling crestfallen. My father told me not to worry, though. He said that if I waited until the next spring those woods would be even better than ever. He explained that the trees would bounce back to life fresher and greener. All the underbrush would be gone. There would be significantly less mosquitos and ticks. And you know what? My dad was absolutely right. The following spring we were right back in those woods having a marvelous time.
That story reminds me a lot of what we’re facing today with the coronavirus. To be sure, COVID-19 is like a fire that’s tearing through the entire world. But just like those trees behind my dad’s house that bounced back stronger than ever, I am hopeful that we as human beings will emerge from this and go back into the world as healthier, happier, more conscientious citizens of the world. We can do that if choose to see this trying time as an opportunity instead of a crisis, if we choose to see that we are safe at home instead of stuck at home. It’s all about perspective.
The choice of perspective is even more important if you are struggling with depression. If you are depressed and choose to focus on the coronavirus as a crisis, then you will surely slide even further into depression than you already are. However, if you are depressed and choose to view this time at home as an opportunity to focus on yourself and heal, then you can cover a whole lot of ground towards the end goal of putting depression behind you for good. If the perspective of opportunity is the one you wish to take, then please read on.
People always ask me how I beat clinical depression without taking medication, and my answer is always the same- one day at a time. Defeating depression is not a one and done game. Stopping depression in its tracks and preventing it from coming back is a result of your lifestyle. It’s the result of consistent, continual work. Said otherwise, it is all about your daily pattern. And now that you are safe at home in quarantine, you can use this time to put a new pattern in place that will put depression in your rearview mirror where it belongs.
What I’d like to give you is the perfect day formula for a new pattern that can tear depression out by the roots and keep it from ever coming back. This formula consists of the following nine ingredients: controlling your thoughts, training your emotions, keeping substances out of your body that affect your mental processes, therapy, meditation, exercise, proper nutrition, volunteering your time, and being charitable with your assets. You can read all the details, research and science behind each of these nine ingredients in my book, The Way Through: The End of Depression. For the sake of keeping this blog as short and sweet as possible, however, please take me at my word that these ingredients are the exact process that I used myself to beat clinical depression without medication. That is how I know they work.
You may be using one or two or some of these nine ingredients already, and I applaud you for that. However, it is the consistent, continual use of all nine that removes depression and prevents it from coming back. If you make all nine your lifestyle, your energetic state will shift, making it impossible for depression to ever worm its way back in. If you are depressed, the enemy standing between you and happiness is not the coronavirus. In fact, the coronavirus has put you exactly where you need to be to confront the real enemy. Why do I say that? Because the real enemy is change, and where else besides your own home will you ever have the time, peace, quiet and safety to focus on making a real change? You are right where you need to be. Choose to see the opportunity at hand and take advantage of it. If you do, I will see you back in the world someday soon, and we will both be smiling. Stay safe, and stay healthy!