Faith

Why mindset and determination are important to fight depression

Table of Contents

Depression’s voice is loud when we are struggling with illness or pain.

Mindset and determination are especially important when we are struggling with illness or pain in addition to depression. Pain is a real downer when it comes to our moods. It’s truly a courageous person who handles pain without letting it get to them.

I’m not that person. So I have to plan ahead. I have decided where my mind is going to be.

A paradox

Strangely though, when we are ill, we so concentrate on our illness that sometimes we forget about our moods! So there is that.

When we feel sick enough that we don’t want to do anything, but not sick enough to stay in bed, that can be an invitation for our mood to plummet. I learned to head it off by making myself presentable, keeping the house neat, etc. Again, it’s those distractions that seem to work so well at times.

Vulnerabilities

Pay attention to your vulnerabilities and learn to meet them head-on and protect yourself. Know how depression works in your life. Don’t be caught off-guard. Physical pain and illness can certainly make us feel vulnerable. When my SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) flares up, I have a plan.

I rest as needed but most importantly, I’ve learned not to think about what I’m not getting done and use my “down” time as thinking and preparation time for writing. I have set my mind to positivity because doing anything else only makes me feel worse.

Preparation

white paper with note

Pain that restricts our optimal functioning is hard. I’ve had five surgeries on my feet. During the recovery periods, one of which was almost a year, I really had to work hard to stay mentally healthy. I love to walk and have found exercise to be my go-to when dealing with anxiety, so even the thought of more foot surgery puts me in a tailspin.

But once again, I had prepared myself for the inertness by adapting the mindset that “this too shall pass”.

Pain and illness is a real playground for depression.

Mindset and determination

But I was determined not to let depression get a foothold. So, I employed a new way of thinking. I realized that in order for me to get through the pain, I have to have a plan.

Mindset and determination are powerful deterrents to the tentacles of depression.

A new mantra

Our mindset has to be that we will not let depression rule our lives anymore. It has to become our mantra. That’s what a mindset is, a mantra we keep repeating to ourselves until it becomes who we are. We don’t even have to say it after a while.

When our mindset becomes ingrained in us, then the next step is to determine that we will do those things that make us better.

The hard work

I’ve counseled many depressed people over the years. I can tell you with complete surety that those that get better are those whose mind is set (mindset) on recovery and who are determined within themselves that they will do the hard work of getting better.

I’m working with someone right now. They are finally getting to the point where they have realized they have been spinning their wheels. They have been doing the same thing over and over again and expecting to get better but are only making it worse.

Mindset and determination

I would suggest that once we get our minds set on recovery and then doggedly determine to make our actions compatible with our mindset, we won’t keep spinning our wheels. But mindset and actions have to work hand in hand. Lots of people have the right mindset but that’s where it ends, in their minds.

When I started my book, I spun my wheels a lot. I thought about writing so much, I honestly felt I had. When I made up my mind (that mindset thing again) that I was going to finish the book, I found it easier to be determined. I put the computer where I pass by it every day. Seeing it in plain view made a world of difference.

Visual prompts help with focus

Visual prompts can be important tools.

For example, if you really want to organize your books, put them all somewhere where they will be in the way until you take care of them. If you want to clean under the sink, take it ALL out and put it somewhere that you can’t ignore the pile.

Or if that’s too over-the-top for you, make a list of tasks and rewards. When you complete the task, you get the reward. Make the reward truly special. For example, if the reward is a latte’ but you have them all the time anyway, it’s not a reward now, is it? But maybe it could be a special latte’.

Finally

Staying on track

Remember, anyone can plan. Anyone can make lists. It’s the people who have the right mindset and are determined that actually implement them.

Believe me, I am not naturally that person. I have to work on it. That’s why every day I have a list of things to get done. I maintain a bullet journal that keeps me on track. And I pray about staying on track.

Lists

By the way, I consider lists a very spiritual activity. God loves lists. So where did I come up with that?

Well, the first obvious list the ten commandments. But if you were to read the entire Bible and concentrate on lists you would find dozens of them. No, they are not listed as “lists” per say, but they are lists nonetheless. The building of the temple, the war strategies, the gifts of the spirit, lists everywhere.

high angle shot of a notebook and a pen beside a laptop/mindset and determination

Focus

My word for the year is “Focus”. I am easily distracted so focusing is especially necessary for me. I pray that God will help me maintain my focus.

And because I am not that person, you can trust that I speak from a position of having-been-there-and-have-learned-the-hard-way. I learned about mindset and determination because I had to. And if I can, you can too.

If there truly are things in life you want to accomplish and all this doesn’t come easy to you, you must have a plan. You must prepare your mind. You must learn determination. Be like Daniel, “….and Daniel made up his mind.” (Daniel 1: 8)

This morning I got ready to take my daily walk. I didn’t want to; I mean I really didn’t want to. There were a lot of reasons, “It’s hot.” “I’ve walked every day for over a month and my back hurts, not to mention my gut. I’m just plain tired.”

But I knew that none of those excuses was anything more than excuses because I just didn’t want to walk and I found lots of reasons to justify my reluctance.

I walked though because, like Daniel, I made up my mind and developed a strong mindset where walking is concerned. And I’ve determined to keep it. Do you see how it should work?

Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes I slack off in various areas just like anyone else. But it’s always really transient and I’m right back on track in no time, except in those cases where I haven’t developed a mindset. Meaning, I need to develop some more.

Don’t just walk through your day willy-nilly. Have a plan. Have a mindset. Be determined to succeed in those areas that are important to you. Like Daniel, make up your mind.

God bless and have a great day.

Categories: Faith