Hi. I’m so glad you’ve found this and I hope this information is an instant help!
There are more pressures on young people today than ever before. In the ‘old days’ life was truly tough but it was relatively simple. Now there’s a myriad of ‘stuff’ we’re exposed to practically from the day we’re born! No wonder our minds can have trouble coping with making sense of it all.
The good news is that no matter what your circumstances, your background, how low you feel right now or how long you have felt that way, you can absolutely learn how to take back command of yourself and your life, utilise the ‘evolved’ part of your brain and to be your best self, feeling good about who you are, confident, full of self worth and self esteem.
Then you need never know depression - ever! And you not only benefit now but go on to have a positive, productive life.
Right now, if you are feeling depressed, let’s do something to get you feeling a bit better and believing that there’s a more positive path ahead:
Firstly, let’s understand what’s happening in your brain to cause the feelings of depression.
Your brain is a piece of gloop that fits into a cereal bowl yet is the most complex thing in the known universe! It has billions of nerve cells which each connect to thousands of others, constantly sending all the messages round our bodies that allow us to think, move, live and breathe.
From our perspective, we can see it in a whole lot simpler way and understand exactly why you have to got to where you are, feeling the way you do.
In our brain we have a conscious part, the bit that’s who we know as ourselves - our awareness, interactions, perceptions and actions etc - but this makes up only 10% of our mind. 90% of our mind is Sub-Conscious! Part of our sub-conscious mind is our phenomenal ‘evolved’ mind and part is our original primitive caveman mind.
When we are functioning from our ‘evolved’ mind we are very positive and can be rational and make a sensible assessment of things. This part is an intellect and can think for itself and has a vast resource of all our answers and solutions, so even in the hardest times we can find ways forward or positive ways to cope. We naturally perform well and achieve and also produce feel good chemicals to feel brave and happy.
It feels like living in a splendid Palace, feeling good about our selves and our world, even if sometimes our world isn’t quite how we’d choose.
However, when we are functioning from our original caveman brain, called our primitive mind, it’s a very different story. This part is all about our survival, so is always on the alert for threat or danger. Consequently it is very negative, always coming up with the worst case scenarios. And then, lest we forget what it perceives as the threat - which right now, for you, will be all that is bothering you - your primitive mind keeps reminding you of that problem over and over; which is why it’s really hard to stop an unwanted pattern because your brain is wired up to remind you!
And even worse, this part is not an intellect and can’t think for itself, so just stores data about survival and encourages you to repeat it, even when in fact it is detrimental to you, so you end up doing all the things you don’t want to do, over and over! It can feel like living in a Big Dark Den full of Rats and Spiders with no way out.
When you feel anger, aggression, anxiety, irritability, stress or fear you are functioning from this primitive, Rat’s Den brain. You are observing what you don’t want or don’t like (including what you don’t like about yourself that you beat yourself up about) and inadvertently allow those ‘Rats’ to run around in your mind, perpetuating all that negativity and bad feeling. This all gets stored as your means of survival, which in time becomes those unwanted patterns.
It shows up as depression, excessive crying, insomnia, hypersomnia, obsessiveness, compulsiveness, poor concentration, poor memory, lack of confidence, feeling unable to mix socially, low self worth and self esteem - even to the point of self harming - and isolation. You feel helpless.
The good news is that whatever is holding you back from coping with challenges, making positive change, feeling good, moving forward, or having, being, doing or feeling what you do want, can be changed so much more easily than you might imagine!
The fact is that you are in charge of your mind, even if it doesn’t feel that way. From your conscious part of your brain, which is what you are using all the time, you ALWAYS have the choice whether you connect with your Palace mind where you can cope, can come up with ideas for sensible solutions, can change unhelpful beliefs and patterns that don’t serve you and can make positive choices that in turn change your feelings.
We have an incredible 60 - 90,000 thoughts every day - and if the majority are positive you’ll be in your Palace Mind and feeling all the benefits of that and if the majority are negative you’ll be living in your Rats Den mind and feeling fearful, anxious and depressed. We tend to have lots of the same thoughts day after day, so if they’re negative we get deeper and deeper into our Rats Den.
So you’d imagine that positive thinking would be the answer, right? Unfortunately it’s not that easy.
The reason we are driven to that negativity in the first place comes from much deeper things that have gone into our subconscious - things we learnt from when we were very little that aren’t actually true, but we’ve taken them on board as true - things like we’re not good enough or that we have to please other people in order to be likeable or that we have to have ‘fancy things’ to make us popular. Yet, even though these things aren’t true, we live by them!
And we look for approval from others and we strive to get understood or noticed or accepted - and we feel the hit and the disappointment when it doesn’t happen - and end up deeper and deeper in our Rats’ Den mind - and all the time there’s the fabulous part of our mind next door in our head that we’re not using!
The simple truth about depression is that it’s just your body telling you you are living from the wrong part of your brain! Once you learn how to take back command of your Rats and move next door in your own head to your Palace Mind and then - most of important of all so you can stay there - learn to really value yourself and like yourself, you can truly feel good about ‘you’, with lots of self worth, confidence and self-assuredness.
And even better news is that I take you through that whole journey in my book “The No 1 Guide for Teenagers to Be Happy and Enjoy Life” which is being released soon - AND that journey is doable, pleasant, simple and changes your life! Keep coming back to this website to grab your copy as soon as it’s available.
Meantime, let’s start working on things today:
For now, just accept that everything is at it is - however bad. This is so important because whilst you keep attached to ‘what’s wrong’ and ‘the awfulness of what you’re going through’ you are just feeding that negativity in your mind even more - feeding your Rats even more - and I suspect your Rats in your Rats’ Den mind are already very well fed!
By accepting things as they are, just because that’s how they are in this moment, we immediately stop this happening and have ‘neutral space’ from which to be able to move forward.
I know it can sound crazy and tough to do, yet I promise it’s the quickest way to stop giving your power to your Rats. It’s not about saying things are ok, or ‘acceptable’, it’s just allowing yourself to have full acknowledgement of ‘how it is’.
Accept you are being bullied, if that’s the case. Accept you have a tough home life, if that’s the case. Accept you have no friends, if that’s the case. Accept you don’t like yourself, if that’s the case.
Accept your parent(s) want you to do things you don’t want to, if that’s the case. Accept you are really unhappy, if that’s the case.
Just surrender to everything you don’t like or want and say (out loud if you can) “I accept this is my situation”.
If you feel a whole load of negative emotion coming up to fight this like “I don’t want to accept it!” or similar, realise that’s just your Rats wanting you to keep doing what you’ve done before in order to ‘survive’ (because that’s the message it’s got) even though it’s not helping you.
Be strong and stay with it until you can just shrug your shoulders and say “Yeah - this sucks - I hate my life and I hate myself and I accept this is where I’ve got to in this moment” or whatever it is for you.
BREATHE . . . and feel the tension in your body draining away as you come into this space of acceptance.
NOW you can genuinely connect with the steps to change things, which you can’t if you’re still chained to your Rats. Acceptance breaks that chain.
So now lets work on turning things around:
In this moment of new power - with all your attention here in this moment - if we had a magic wand and you woke up to a happy life tomorrow, what would be different?
What would solve things for you so you could feel better about yourself and your life? (And you do know because the human brain is wired up like that!)
If we waved that magic wand, what would you wake up to? And how would feel about yourself?
The reason this is so important is because you cannot turn things around if you are still focusing on ‘what’s wrong’ (giving the power to your Rats). You have to be in your Palace mind to be able to make positive change, which requires a completely different focus. Focus on what you DO want.
Using the examples above, that could become: “I want the bullying to stop”
“I want things to get easier at home” “I want to have friends”
“I want to like myself”
“I want to be able to make my own choices” “I want to feel happier”
NOTICE how that feels a tiny bit better, yet doesn’t quite feel good yet.
So, move to the next stage - make it truly about what you DO want:
“I want to be accepted and belong”
“I want my mum/dad to stop drinking/shouting/take more notice of me” (Or whatever it is for you). “I want to have some really great, loyal, fun-to-be with friends”
“I want to like myself and feel good about myself” (Get into the detail of what that looks like)
“I want to be able to tell my parents what I want to do (within possibilities) and be allowed to do so “I want to feel happy and excited about life”
NOTICE how that feels more attuned with what you Do really want.
Now move to the next stage:
NOTICE how far the gap seems to be from where you are to having those statements above be true.
A long way, right?
So that’s the journey - closing that gap!
There’s so much more about how to achieve this in my book but for now, here are 2 golden rules:
- ALWAYS focus on what you DO want and get into the habit of this with your thoughts and your See the example lists above again and notice the difference.
- Keep focused on why you want this, rather than ‘when or how it will happen’. (When or how = doubt and fear = Rats’ Den again!) If you keep WHY in your mind it will help keep you fully focused in that positive direction - and in your Palace Mind!
Ask yourself “If I was going to take one tiny step toward that picture what could it be? What’s the first thing I could do to help me shift just a little bit from where I am towards what I want? (And again, you do know - even if it takes time to surface . . if you ask the question sincerely, the answer will come.) What’s the first tiny step you could take toward that picture?
It might even be “Being willing to take accountability for my self and my life” or “Realising I need to stop feeding my Rats” or “Gaining some more confidence” or “Standing up for myself” or “Actually reaching our for appropriate help” . . .
Whatever thoughts come up that tell you ‘you can’t’ or ‘it’s too difficult’ or ‘it’s not going to happen’ or that blocks you in some way - just notice them but don’t give them any power - that just keeps you stuck! Keep focused on that first step you could take toward that magic wand picture of yourself and your life .
So, if you were going to take that tiny step, when could you be taking it? How could you be taking it? What difference could it make? If you did take that step, how would you feel afterwards?
Once you start thinking this way, with intent and commitment to finding an answer, a wonderful part of your brain called your anterior cingulate gyrus comes on board to actually come up with your answers! That’s when you wake up in the morning with a fresh idea or new enthusiasm!
You have the choice to stay depressed and miserable or to gently paint the pictures in your mind of what you do want - to have and be and do and feel - and then just focus on the first tiny step towards it - and then take the next and the next.
You CAN do it - because your Palace Mind is sitting there in your own head right now! It’s just allowing yourself to use it! It’s much nicer living in a Palace rather than Big Dark Den full of Rats and Spiders!
MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL is to cultivate your sense of self worth, so do look at those topics on this website too!
Meantime, if you are like me, it’s easier to remember a story to help remind us to keep the focus forward so here is a story for this purpose:
There was a village in a very isolated part of the world. It was so isolated they very rarely saw visitors from the outside world and the people of the village had a secret.
They had a magical painting which had been given to them by a stranger back in the past, in a time before anyone could remember. The stranger had said as long as this picture stays in the village everything will go right for the people of the village, and the people felt safe having this picture.
One day another stranger came to the village and the people, being very hospitable, made the stranger welcome and they let him stay in the room where the painting was kept. But when they got up in the morning the stranger had left and the painting had been taken away.
The villagers were desolated, they felt their happiness had gone, life could never again be the way they had pictured it. They looked out of the window and the blue sky had turned dark, the trees had stopped blooming, the birds no longer sang and they felt very sad.
Then one of the young women of the village walked over to where the painting had been on the wall and she started to paint her own picture. She started to paint a beautiful painting of trees and birds and colourful flowers and then some others joined her and soon all the people were co-operating making this painting.
They all got so absorbed in this painting it wasn’t until the young woman looked out of the window and said “Look - everything is changing” that they realised the sky had become blue again and the birds were singing again and the trees were back in bloom.
You too can pick up your own metaphorical brush and paint your new picture - and when you do - and hold the faith - things start to turn around so much more quickly than you might imagine!