More than 350 million people in the world suffer from depression, according to the World Health Organization. Even though you can’t and shouldn’t compare situations since no two are alike, a symptom everyone experiences is hopelessness that at times can be overwhelming. The anxiety that often comes without a warning can be physically and mentally draining, so you ask yourself: how do I get through this?
Most of us live in societies where it’s common to suppress our negative emotions, however, some cultures have a much more efficient approach. For example, Buddhists suggest to not ignore the negative emotions nor over-analyze them. Instead, just acknowledge them and give them your attention, that way you can make the feeling lessen or even disappear completely.
A lot of people use positive self-talk or repeating words when depression and anxiety strike. The repetition of certain words and phrases known as mantras work because they help you become consciously aware of what you’re doing and remind you what you want to do. The trick is finding the right one for you, so you can either create your own or use ones that have been around for hundreds of years.
In the book Harnessed: How Language and Music Mimicked Nature and Transformed Ape to Man, the author Mark Changizi, a neurobiologist, talks about how when we hear certain things, we visibly experience those events – per instance, how a scream instantly brings feelings of terror and alarm, or how the laugh of a baby makes us happy.
Mantra originated in the Sanskritic language, from the word manas, which means “mind,” and tra, which means “to transcend.” Mantras keep the mind occupied when chanting them, and as a result, you’re distracted from your worries. It’s not a silver bullet for depression and it’s not going to make it magically disappear, but it’s a great way to cope with anxiety and clear your mind. Even if you’re sceptical about it, you can’t know until you’ve tried it. Sit in a quiet place and close your eyes, repeat the words and get your mouth and tongue to learn the movement of the words. Be patient and focus on listening.
To help you with your mantra experience, you can use apps such as, Affirmations – Inspired by Nature, Jinglow or Positivity with Andrew Johnson, which offer a range of positive affirmations that can help you combat negative thoughts.
1) I Will Get Better
Think about the life ahead of you, there’s so much to be happy for – good times with friends and family, learning new things, jobs and partners, amazing adventures waiting to be experienced. All feelings are temporary, and this too shall pass.
2) This Is a Moment of Suffering
If you didn’t encounter any type of tragedy or disappointment at a certain point in your life, what would shape you into the person you are today? We shouldn’t expect a perfect life, because there will always be ups and downs. However, we should take away something from every situation. From our low points we will gain strength and knowledge, and from our high points, we will learn how to be humble and happy.
3) Be Not Afraid
The feeling of fear is entirely made up in your mind, and if fear is only in your mind – you’re the person that can control it. When you learn to overcome what you fear, there will be nothing holding you back.
4) Face the Situation and Fight
Every time you avoid a fearful event, you just add another experience of failure to your weaknesses. You might feel discomfort while facing the situation, but it’s worthwhile if you keep in mind your long-term goals.
5) Just for Today
The fear of commitment can be overwhelming at times, and the voices in our heads may be telling us that we’ll have to give up a piece of our lives or our freedom. The phrase Just for Today takes the pressure off and makes the commitment more attainable.
6) Let It Go
Will over-thinking the situation make it any better? Will your worrying have a positive outcome or keep the bad thing away? Chances are, you’ll only feel worse, and the event you’re thinking about might not even occur in the future. In times of rumination, remember the simplest sentence – I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.
7) There Is No Danger
Although the thoughts and feelings you’re having seem way too real, the brain is being tricked that you’re somehow in danger, but you actually aren’t. Focus on making the present better so your future can be anxiety free.
8) Learn From Mistakes and Move Ahead
Even though making mistakes isn’t fun, remember that each time you don’t succeed serves as a proof you’re pushing yourself to new limits, and each failure is a way to grow stronger and become better.