How to Combat Depression by Controlling your Thoughts

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Depression is common in the Kidney Disease Community, especially those on dialysis and transplant recipients. When we accept that there are few things we have control over, we might be able to relax and find peace with current circumstances; whatever they are. A major source of anxiety and depression is the feeling of a loss of control. Those who are depressed surrender to malaise. Anxious people worry a lot. It's our attempt to control more than we are able to that elevates our stress hormones and affects our ability to sleep well.

The only things we have full control over are ourselves. Anything external to us, our environment, other people, the weather, and pretty much anything in the world is beyond our control. What's more, with illness, one compromises self-control for feelings of tiredness, nausea, fear, and other personal side-effects.

Just to be clear, we control: our actions; what we think; what we say; our immediate environment; what our inputs are (what we see, hear, read etc.); who are friends are; our level of self care; how we spend our time; and our legacy. That's not much to look after, considering the hundreds of things that are out of our hands in a day. As the poem by the preacher Reinhold Niebuhr states, it takes grace and forgiveness to accept what we can't change and wisdom to know what we can. Everything else leads to malaise or stress.

You might ask, if leading a less stressful life is that simple, why don't more people do it? There are a lot of answers to this question; most can be reduced to human nature. The trouble is, it's much easier to worry, blame others, be irresponsible, compare one's self to others, be passive, or a control freak than it is to take rational control of ourselves and our mind.

It's not like we are simply going to stop worrying about things just because we conceptually know they're out of our control. This is where the hard but rewarding work comes in. The good news is that breathing, meditation, relaxation, all help. Training your mind to control your thoughts is essential to being able to banish worries, blame, unflattering comparisons, negative thinking, and fears. As you can clearly see, dealing with depression requires more than pill-taking, rather it is important to discuss the problem with your healthcare team, and establish a comprehensive treatment plan to combat depression.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bradley-foster/taking-back-control_b_3009416.html

Recommended Reading:

There are some easy choices that can lead to a healthier life
Coping with Overwehlming Stress of Kidney Disease