Monthly Archives: November 2010

Overcoming Depression with Courage and Perseverance

This morning I’d like to share with you a few tips to overcome discouragement, low self-esteem and depression.

These tips have helped me battle through negative emotions. My hope is that this post will provide great encouragement for you. While we’re all surrounded by uncertainties, developing inner strength helps us cope and overcome in life.

Developing goals in all my important life areas has been extremely valuable to me. It’s helped me make greater progress in life.

Without having long-term and short-term goals in life, along with the reasons why you want to achieve them, life seems like a treadmill- and has little purpose or joy.

Here are 3 great benefits for developing goals, the reasons why you want to achieve them, and how reviewing them will help you overcome depression and discouragement:

A New Purpose

Since I’ve developed goals for my life, I’ve defined a new purpose for my life.

I’ve also experienced a more energy and enthusiasm for life.

In the same way, as you develop and review some cherished goals for your life, it results in a new vision for yourself and for your life.

Then, as you make progress in accomplishing your goals, feelings of depression and discouragement lift, and this also has another phenomenal benefit (coming up in the next benefit)…

A Sense of Progress

As I’ve worked towards achieving my goals in life, I’ve made journal entries about my progress.  I’ve felt better about myself than I ever did in the past.

As you make progress in achieving your goals, your belief in your capabilities and your self-image will rise.

We all need to see ourselves as capable, significant, strong and powerful in life.  Making great strides in achieving our goals builds these emotions, and helps us overcome the feelings of depression, low self-esteem, and doubt that we often battle with in our minds.

The Opportunity to Develop Courage

With your goals, your plans, and an inspiring vision for your future , you now have an additional benefit: a chance to develop courage.

Developing and working on new goals for our lives helps us make a type of “stretch” outside of our comfort zones.

This is an important benefit.  As we step into the uncomfortable and unfamiliar, we may stumble and fall, but we also build up our courage and perseverance.

Consider the greatest inventions over the past centuries.  Men and women developed bold dreams, were questioned and ridiculed, but didn’t give up.  Many times they tried and failed, but they persevered.  In the end, they came up with the answers and found solutions by finding out what didn’t work.

In the same way, your courage and strength is built each time you boldly step outside of your comfort zone, and work on your goals.

You may need to try again and again.  Be encouraged to develop dreams, goals, and visions for your life- and to work on achieving them.  This is what gives your life great meaning, purpose, anticipation, and enthusiasm that you need.

I like a quote from Theodore Roosevelt, who is considered to be one of the greatest U.S. presidents:

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

Today I encourage you to develop your goals- and to experience greater purpose, a sense of progress, and courage in your life.

In my next post, I’ll discuss tips on overcoming the emotion of entitlement.

Here is a great video from Brian Tracy, which has some highly valuable tips for setting and achieving goals.  Until my next post, may you experience greater success, joy and accomplishment in your life.

Beat Depression by Improving Your Thought Life


Changing my thoughts and improving my mental habits has been a process.  It’s taken time for me to make changes in this part of my life.

In the past, I’ve underestimated the role my thought life plays in the emotions I experience.  I can tell you from direct experience that our thoughts directly create the feelings we experience.

I refer quite often to a very helpful book called “The Great Little Book on Personal Achievement” by Brian Tracy.  One of his quotes he wrote:

“Thought is creative.  You create your entire life with your thoughts, hour by hour and minute by minute.”

I have a few tips today that I’ve found to be quite valuable- and I hope that they’ll help you today.

Awareness of Our “Natural Thinking”

Several years back, I was job-hunting and was researching careers.

During that time, I picked up a free resource from a local government agency.  It was called “Re-Framing: From Self-Defeating to Powerful Thoughts”

I found very practical tips in the 2 page printout.  I didn’t realize the power of thoughts- and the crucial role they play in determining our attitudes, our habits and on our overall outlook on life.

At this moment, what emotion are you experiencing?  What thoughts have you been thinking in the last few moments?  As you briefly journal about these two questions now (or later in the day), you’ll find a direct link between the thoughts you’re thinking and the emotion you’re feeling.

Confronting Self-Defeating Thoughts

The article also gave some great examples on how to re-frame our thoughts.

The writer suggested that it’s helpful to list the statement getting in your way, and then to re-frame the thought in a more specific and positive way.

For example, “I can’t do it” becomes “I’ve overcome difficulties before and I can do this too” and “When I set my mind to it, I usually do well.”

These ideas were really useful for me, as I went through stages of looking for work.  Job hunting can be a rather daunting task, and can be filled with fear and uncertainty.  Using and applying these tips has helped me develop and maintain a better outlook on life- and in confronting the obstacles I’ve faced.

Recently a business coach suggested that I create a document about my greatest accomplishments in life.

I called it “Top 15 achievements” and it’s been very meaningful for me to refer back to it.  It helps me confront any natural thoughts of inadequacy that pop into my head.

I’ve realized that I have some really good accomplishments, and that I can achieve the goals I’ve set for myself in life.

You’ll be encouraged as you create a listing of your prior accomplishments and refer to it whenever thoughts of inadequacy arise in your mind.

Active “Vigilance”

When it comes to those “natural thoughts” that pop into my head, I’ve needed to be “actively vigilant” with thoughts of inferiority or inadequacy.

It’s easy to feel inferior or inadequate when you compare yourself with others or when you’re faced with new challenges.

Whenever a negative thought comes into my mind, I’m vigilant in questioning it.  Here are a few questions you can ask yourself.

“Is it true? Rational? Or even realistic?”

“In light of my previous achievements, why would I believe that I can’t face this new challenge?”

“Is this thought helping me or hindering my progress in life?”

If you passively accept the negative thoughts that occur, your day can become quite miserable and unproductive.

I’m making it a habit to question my negative thoughts, and built on positive thoughts in my life.  It’s been an effective tool for beating depression in my life.

Acceptance of Your Power, Value and Significance

Today, and in your upcoming days ahead, I encourage you to accept a greater truth in your own life: you have the power to question your negative thoughts, and to accept new thoughts about your power, value and significance in life.

Feelings of depression make us feel powerless in life.  Depression prevents us from overcoming our difficulties, as we focus on our problems and difficulties.  It all begins with the thoughts we think and dwell upon.

Each day is an opportunity to create greater power in your life (with more accurate, positive thoughts), and to recognize and reinforce that you are valuable (there’s no one exactly like you), and that you can make a significant or important difference in your life and in the lives of others.

My next post will be about the benefits of developing goals and courage in life.  This post will conclude my last few series of posts- on the tools to beat depression.

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Why Making a Contribution helps us Beat Depression


As you know, it’s difficult to go through times of discouragement or depression.

I’ve found a few ideas that have worked for me, and I hope that you’ll put these ideas into action. That way they will work for you as well.

It’s easy to come up with theories – but I like to make things practical.

As you reach out to others who you can help, you’ll experience some great benefits in your life.

A Change in Focus

As you reach out and help others in your community, you’ll find that your focus changes.

During times of discouragement, it’s easy to get caught up in your own troubles, worries or fears.  This has been my experience.

I needed to understand and recognize that other people have challenges and problems in their own lives.  It was easy to forget this when facing my own struggles.

Through understanding and compassion, we’re able to relate better to others and to recognize that we’re not alone in our difficulties.

I attended a personal development seminar as I was experiencing setbacks in life.  The things I encountered surprised me.  During that seminar, my focus changed.  I had been “caught up” in my own troubles.  I then began to encourage other people that I got to know better at the seminar.  I experienced great empathy and compassion for them, as I heard about their struggles and trials in life.

Prior to the seminar I was too focused upon my own life, hopes, and issues.

Even today, I battle with focusing so much on my own troubles that I forget the problems other people face.  It’s interesting how it works.  As we focus too much on our own problems, depression kicks in.  As we reach out and help those around us and in our communities, our focus shifts away from ourselves.

The Feeling of “Well-Being” from Making a Difference

This is a second benefit of reaching out to others in need.

As we change our focus- from our own problems to the needs of others around us, we’re able to recognize that there are needs all around us.

As we reach out to others and make a difference in their lives, it gives us a feeling of well-being.

During the past week or so, I’ve encountered difficult times.  It’s been rather discouraging.

As I write this blog post and think about each reader that can be encouraged from reading it, my mood lifts.  If, in some small way, I’m encouraging you in your life with these posts, I’ve left my own type of “mark” and legacy in this world.

To me, this world needs more light, encouragement and hope.

I hope that you’ve been encouraged to set your own goals and make your own unique contribution.

Help others during your own trials and difficulties.  You’ll benefit immensely.

Gratitude for the Things We’ve Overlooked

Reaching out and helping others in need has a third benefit.  By doing so, we’re able to experience gratitude for the things we take for granted in life.

For example, I’ve had this experience when I’ve volunteered at the Mustard Seed, a local homeless shelter and humanitarian organization.

I’ve been able to help out with meal serving on several occasions.

After volunteering there, I’ve experienced gratitude for things I’ve taken for granted- having a place to live, the ability to make a living and have spare money to travel with, basic necessities like a having a warm place to live, work that helps me meet my needs and supplies my “wants”.

Sometimes my own trials and difficulties dominate my thinking.  Reaching out to others helps me look beyond my own problems- and puts things in proper perspective.

With this post, I’m encouraging you to beat depression by:

  • changing your focus- from yourself to the world of others and their needs.
  • making a difference – and experiencing a feeling of well-being, recognizing the value you bring to the lives of others- when you decide to reach out and make a difference, and
  • experiencing gratitude - for the things you easily take for granted.

My next post will be about ways we can monitor our thoughts to overcome depression.

ThePurposeofLife Why Making a Contribution helps us Beat Depression

The Value of An Outside Perspective in Overcoming Depression


The value of having an outer perspective… or help from other sources, is key in battling and overcoming depression.

I’ve had my own battles with depression, and my hope is that this post will give you a few really good tips you can use.  It’s good to refer to other sources when dealing with this type of negative emotion.

There are a few benefits you’ll experience as you seek help when dealing with depression.


The value of the advice, help, support and insight of others is a key part of making progress.

If you’re battling depression, I’d encourage you to seek support, counselling or coaching.

The past few years, I’ve attended a very good personal development seminar that’s held locally.  We had a supportive facilitator who was very good at helping us see our “blind spots”, and the ways we were hiding from reality.

The easy path is to try to battle feelings of depression on our own.

I encourage you today to find support and encouragement you need.  You’ll experience hope and courage by seek help and apply the practical advice you receive.  In addition, as you make progress and build upon even your small victories- you’ll experience great encouragement in your life.


Look back on the past- and all the people you’ve encountered .  Take a moment to reflect on those you’ve encountered in your work or personal life.  There are people who either add to your strength and courage.  And then there are those who “sap” or take away any strength or courage you have.

When battling a negative emotion such as depression, we need to be vigilant against negative influences.

Seeking the counsel of a professional who can help provide you with greater courage and strength is exceedingly valuable.  If your emotions are down, it really helps to gain new insight, wisdom and strength from those who can help you.  I’ve been there and know that it helps!

The strength that I’m referring to is a power of focus, a new vitality or a newly discovered faith that your future will be better and is not equivalent to your past.

Solutions and Practical Advice

Having an outside perspective provides us with solutions or practical advice that we haven’t considered.

There are many “blind spots” that we have.  The old phrase “no man is an island” is highly applicable to dealing with life’s problems.  We should seek direction, support, and guidance from those who can help us.  There are ways we can cope better when we’re feeling low or depressed.   I have a great library of excellent audio programs- which have helped me battling periods of depression that I’ve faced.

Medical Conditions

Of course, sometimes depression has its root cause in a type of chemical imbalance.  For those who need medication, it’s important to also seek help in determining a cause for their depression.

With this post then, my tips for helping you or others you may know with depression would be:

  • Seek the encouragement of others – who can help you through counselling or coaching.  It’s very helpful and valuable to do so.
  • Consider the importance of those who try to influence you.  Follow the encouragement, insight and wisdom of those who have practical advice.  You’ll find greater strength in dealing with your emotions this way.
  • Recognize that you have “blind spots” in life.  It’s been helpful for me to have the input, guidance and wisdom of others who have helped me with my own “blind spots”.  I’d like to encourage you to discover new answers and coping skills.
  • If there’s a medical cause for your depression, be encouraged that there’s no shame in getting help.  Your life is too valuable to have to live with this type of condition.

My next post will cover a few benefits of reaching out to others in your community.  It’s an effective method to battle depression.

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Overcome the Negative Emotion of Depression


It’s easy to become overwhelmed, confused and discouraged.  If you’ve recently battled these emotions, or if you’re currently experiencing them, I’ve been there.

Be encouraged that there will be times when you’re enthused, motivated and charged up about life.  Then there will be other times where you’re less motivated.  I think emotions tend to run in cycles.

With these upcoming posts, I hope I’ll encourage you with a few ideas for beating depression.  I have a few tips that have worked for me.

Gratitude List

For me, starting the day with a gratitude list helps when I first wake up in the morning.

Our thoughts can really go into a downward spiral if we allow them to.  You’ll notice that whenever you turn on the radio or the TV or the radio, it’s quite often filled with bad news.  If we allow our thoughts to take a negative route, it’s easy to stay that way throughout the morning- and even throughout the day.

Training myself to become more grateful for my talents, abilities, opportunities, and blessings in life- helps me move through the day more effectively, elevates my mood and helps me overcome emotional depression.  It all starts in the mind and what I allow myself to focus on.

As an example, here is a gratitude list I came up with this morning.

It takes a few minutes or so, but it’s well worth it for battling depression, as it focuses my mind on good things I can be grateful for.  When it’s written down, it serves as a good reminder of positive things I have going for me.

I hope it will inspire and encourage you whenever you’re feeling depressed.  I’d encourage you to get into a habit of creating your own gratitude list.

Today’s Gratitude List


  • to do the work I like to do
  • to choose my thoughts
  • of thought, speech and religion- something that’s not available in some parts of the world
  • to learn, grow and develop personally and professionally

Basic Needs

  • such as food, clothing, shelter, a reliable car that gets me to and from work and to get around the city I live in.

Physical and Mental Health

Talents, abilities and skills I can use to make a good living and a significant contribution to the world around me.

My hope is that this post has been encouraging to you.  In few days, watch for part 2 of 5 in this series of posts about overcoming depression. My next post will be about the value of asking for help and getting an “outer perspective“.  Until then, may you experience greater learning and gratitude.

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