We are all born with special traits that make us unique. Some are inherited and some are learned, for better or for worse. Remember, anything that is learned can be “unlearned” or modified to help you feel better in your everyday life. The first step is becoming aware of your tendencies or character flaws and then making the steps to change. Listed below are 10 common characteristics that most depressed people demonstrate.
1. You BLAME others for how your life has ended up. Are you that person who likes to point fingers when things don’t go so well? Do you tend to complain a lot and deflect as if nothing is your fault? If that resonates with you (it’s ok to be honest with yourself here) then maybe you can turn that attention inward and ask: Why are things the way they are? What can I do to make things better regardless of what is happening around me? What is the lesson here?
2. You ISOLATE yourself. We are meant to be social creatures who get gratification when we socialize and connect with other people. If you are someone who tends to isolate themselves and not accept support, this can impart feelings of loneliness, lack of pleasure and inability to cope. If this sounds like you, try to connect with one person at least once a week to chat and be open about your feelings. You can also plan something fun to do outside of your daily “routine”. Change it up and you will notice a change in your mood.
3. You need to have CONTROL over everything. The need to control people, events, situations etc. seems like a big task, doesn’t it? You and I both know that not everything can be controlled. The need to control comes from the EGO mind as it gives a sense of power and security. I used to be like this in many ways, and wow did it consume me! Have you ever heard the phrase: “Let go and let God”? This simple phrase reminds us that there is a greater power working for us and that we can lessen the reins on controlling every person, situation and outcome. Surrender and let things happen for you. I am not saying sit on the couch, be lazy and wait for things to fall into your lap. I am asking you to assess where in your life you are exerting control, and if you realize it is beyond you, try to let go and let God. Everything always works out as it should.
4. You are a good Actor. You wear the “mask of happiness”. This is very true for most people. When I ask my patients why they wear a mask, they reply “because everyone has their problems and I don’t want to burden them with mine.” I reply “so what you are saying is that YOU are a burden for feeling unhappy and your unhappiness will make other people unhappy, so you will fake your feelings which will make you more unhappy.” Some people have an “ah-ha” moment. I urge you to be open with at least one person you know. If that seems like a big task, then write your feelings in a journal. I urge you to share, be real and authentic. Being vulnerable is the boldest act of courage.
5. Fear controls you. Take a moment to think of what you fear in life? ……I said a moment….. Most people can spend all day ruminating over negative thoughts and fears and most people do- this is what we call anxiety. I learned a long time ago that fear and love cannot co-exist fully in the body. Where there is fear, there is no love. Fear is a negative emotion that weighs heavy on your heart and takes away from true happiness and joy. I urge you to list your fears and try to turn those fears into a goal or positive affirmation. Example. I fear not having enough money to support my family. CHANGE thought to: “I have an abundance of money and all things I need. I am filled with love and I am grateful for all the things that we do have”. List them. That already feels lighter to me. Doesn’t it?
6. You lack self- love. This is a big one and something that is necessary in order to live a life of happiness and freedom. If you are not sure whether or not you love yourself, look at what you do each day and assess whether it is an act of love and nourishment or an act of self harm? Do you eat well, sleep well, have positive thoughts, exercise and talk openly about your feelings and needs? That is self love.
7. You live with regret and shame. These two emotions carry with them a lot of negative energy. We have all had experiences in our lives where we made poor decisions and then regretted them. Some people are better able to FORGIVE themselves or other people for wrong doings and move on with life. Most people do not know how to let go of negative feelings and so these emotions occupy space and drain energy from the body, robbing you from happiness and joy. If you feel that you are dealing with these emotions try reading the books by Brene Brown as she focuses on these emotions and how to overcome them with courage.
8. You don’t know how to let go, relax and have fun! We are put on this earth to live a purposeful life, one that is to be enjoyed! Most people do not realize that the most natural human emotion is happiness. We have been cultured to think that if you have fun you are not acting like an “adult” and it is taking time away from the things that you are “supposed” to be doing. Take a long weekend and go on a road trip with a friend OR come home earlier from work and play with your kids- I mean really play like a kid!
9. You don’t appreciate the small things. Having an “attitude of gratitude” goes a long way in helping your mood and attracting abundance. Try waking up each morning and before getting out of bed, take 5 minutes to call to mind all the things you are grateful for. This is very powerful. Remember, fill your heart with love, leaving little to no room for fear. A quote from the brilliant Jim Carrey “don’t ever let fear turn you against your playful heart”.
10. You tell yourself depression is in your “genes”. Essentially you have given up and have accepted the fact that your family history will dictate your future. I can’t tell you how many people tell me in my office that they do not want to turn out like their mother/father/siblings. I say to them “well what are your doing differently?” Genetics plays a much smaller role than previously thought when it comes to disease. Environmental factors and lifestyle habits are very important in disease progression. If you know that depression is prevalent in your family, it would mean that keeping a positive outlook, nourishing your mind, body and spirit on a daily basis is imperative for you.
If you would like more help with your mental health, reach out and book your free 15 min consult with me.
I am a Naturopathic Doctor helping people achieve and maintain happiness and good health in mind, body and soul.
In loving kindness,
Dr. Jen Cisternino
Naturopath, Blogger, Speaker
Wholistic Weight Loss Expert