Negative Thinking, Depression and Suicidal Thoughts (NTDST)
“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” - Marcus Aurelius
What is Depression and Suicidal Thoughts? Depression is defined as a prolonged period of feeling sadness, hopeless, worry and despair. These are negative feelings that are persistent and may feel like they will never go away. Suicidal Thoughts are a response to these intense negative feelings that we don’t think/feel we can continue to bear.
Key Insight: The definition clearly shows us the crux of the issue. The point is found within our feelings. Harsh negative feelings over time can lead to a downward spiral ending in suicidal thoughts, etc.
Effect of Negative Feelings: All feelings are different mixtures of chemicals our body releases in a response to something. Extreme negative feelings come from a certain mixture of chemicals that in the short term can help motivate us, create focus and can provide energy. However, this cascade of negative chemical over time will do damage to us mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Negative feelings can create a physical reaction like feeling a tightness in your chest or an upset stomach, inflammation, clenching, restlessness and sleeplessness, all of which add to the problem.
The opposite are positive feelings which have an opposite effect. Positive feelings help improve all aspects of our health, eating and sleeping habits, energy levels, motivation and more. Positive feelings even flush out the negative chemicals caused by depression and negative thinking.
What Causes Negative Feelings: Generally, negative feelings are caused by 1 or any combination of 3 situations.
1. Negative Self Judgment: We have a negative belief about ourselves.
2. Negative Happenings: We have negative beliefs concerning things that either have happened, might happen or will happen to us, our loved ones, or in our society/world.
3. Negative Place: We have a negative feeling associated with the environment we are in. If the environment in which we find ourselves is very negative, unpleasant or not conducive, it creates negative feelings. Sometimes depression is caused by this lacking in our society. In these cases, especially when extreme, we must focus on making things better. This is because hope can be a very positive force that can get things moving in the right direction even against the toughest of odds.
Why Does This Happen?
Intense negative feelings, thoughts, and even depression and suicidal thoughts are normal and natural and are here for a reason. Most of us have had or will have times when we are hurt deeply. We are human. This is a human conditional fact-- feeling bad means we can feel good. Positive needs negative.
We can see there is a wrongness in our world and sometimes it gets to us. Negative feelings are designed to make us focus on something, learn, and to give us energy so we can deal with it and solve the problem(s). If we handle it correctly, these situations develop skills that can make us better people as well as expose issues that can be fixed. The fact is that someone has gone through something like you are at some point in history/herstory. There are many examples of people who turned a small or great wrongness, tragedy or hardship into good. This is what you really want to do. The key is to know that we can prevent and overcome NTDST.
Our belief in negative thoughts create "negative feelings". These are things like feeling: sad, hopeless, desperate, lonely, fearful, worried, distrustful, ashamed, hated or hateful, worthless, desperate, reckless, unmotivated, or even suicidal. These negative feelings naturally have a positive opposite. For Example: Most of us would like to be appreciated and admired for something good, yet we are often overly critical of ourselves. We all have weaknesses yet want to learn to compensate for them. We have unused capacity and skills that have not been turned to our advantage. We sometimes or often doubt we have made the right decisions or choices and wish for more clarity. We can hold ourselves together but at times can be worried and insecure on the inside. We can be a very independent thinker yet sometimes accept questionable things without proof. Most of us would like some positive change in life yet are hemmed in by restrictions and limitations.
What You Really Want
You do not want to feel depressed, have negative thoughts and feelings or kill yourself. What you really want is to be happy and have a wonderful life. What you really want is to overcome depression, an attachment to negative thoughts, suicidal thoughts and all the rest.
The Way to Overcome NTDST
So, if this is true, then how do we get what we really want instead of being self-destructive during these challenges? All solutions are tied to our shared human condition. The wrongness of life and the trials we go through generally focus us in three areas: Self-Control, Self-Creation and Societal Development. We all have the power to change the negative into the positive, and this is made even stronger when we join with other people. This means that our challenge is to find a way to know the issue, learn, find solutions and move on in a positive way.
The fact is that negative feelings are a mixture of chemicals our body released in a response to our belief, and they will do damage over the long term. We also know that we build habits in about 90 days. So, the solution must work for us fast even if we have a negative habit. Understanding all this is what makes the solution very clear. We must have certain thoughts, believe them, and then take certain actions to overcome NTDST. So what beliefs, thoughts and actions do we need?
1. Face It: Bad things happen. You may have a negative thought, have horrible things happen to you and your loved ones. You might be in a terrible place. Whatever the issue, we do not run from it, push it down, or deny it. We also don’t languish in our dealings with it. We face it, deal with it and then move on. Really look at it and deal with it. Allowing ourselves to think the thoughts and feel that pain and/or sadness. Sometimes, when we focus on what we are depressed about, we find they are superficial things that are meaningless, and these evaporate quickly. If this situation is tied to a loss of someone or other great event, you may also need time to grieve. So just take some time but don’t languish too long. All good people would always want you to learn, recover and move on to have a wonderful life.
It’s clear that we can use these situations to make things better or let them destroy us. Because this is tied to our thinking, belief and actions, the choice is ours. This is true with all negative thinking and situations. Regardless of what you are feeling depressed about, these feelings are caused by a certain belief. You can think anything and believe what you want. You can think that all situations like this are just tests and challenges that once understood and passed can't hurt anymore. We can even see past issues like this as victories that become endless sources of energy we can use for good. (See Step 5: Our Practice: Power)
2. Learn Lessons: Now that we have faced it and are going through it, the next key is to look for the lesson, challenges, and tests that may be found within it. (For more see Challenges. Tests etc. under…foundation mind). This might be in the form of a list of things not to do or to do. It might be some important point or change that needs to happen within your life or within our society. Here we are looking for perspectives and paths where we can change this into either being nothing or being a good thing. What are all the things you can do to get through this transitional moment of life to make you better? (see Transitional Moment under Step 5: Key Time?) Write these down as they can be used to improve ourselves, find direction as well as implement solutions.
3. Know Change is Guaranteed: The next key is to really know that we all live in a world of change where nothing stays the same. Entropy is part of our human condition. Change is happening right now as time passes. You will not be like this forever. It may seem overwhelming in this transitional moment but know that this too shall pass. You don’t know what will happen. When people say "its darkest before dawn" they do not mean this literally, as it’s not true in our world. Darkest before the dawn means that at the most bleak and hopeless there is something that could happen to change everything. A major key insight here is that if you do a good job following all the solutions found within this section, as time passes you are creating the positive change that will get you to where you want to go.
4. See the Way Out: While we are facing it, learning lessons and know that change is guaranteed, we still need to know the way out. Here we need only find the desire for NTDST to end. This desire can come in the form of wishing this situation did not exist or that it never happened. This desire for it to end allows us to make choices and take actions where we are mindful in the moment working on the solutions and not focusing on the problem. For many of us, this is a key starting point and one we can use to get out. It's like a bread crumb trail for its through our desire for something to end that something new can start. It’s this desire for the positive that leads us to make a choice and act. However, knowing that change is guaranteed, and the way out still leaves us needing power to make it happen.
5. Know the Power: Say your best friend contacts you and says "(insert loved one’s name) was just hit by a car and taken to the hospital and I don’t know if they are going to live." How would you feel at that moment? Devastated, worried, sad, desperate, etc.? Then they say…ha just joking. What do you feel now? You certainly might be mad at the person for that mean joke, but you also don’t feel devastated, worried or sad as you did a moment before. In fact, all those negative feelings just fade away in an instant. You may even feel good. Here we can have the same thought or see the same thing that caused negative feelings, yet now we feel nothing, or even positive about it. So, what happened? Change happened.
We believed a thought (thought 1).
Then had another thought and believed it instead (thought 2).
Think about it like this. When you had an intense or bad dream that you woke up from, you were able to go from an instant state of panic or fear, then to believing that was not true and then go right back to sleep. These examples are being used to illustrate how this basic human process works. This is very important because it works same way in all situations including with depression and negative thinking. It’s the chain of belief, unbelief and new belief that allows us to overcome NTDST. Even if we are truly oppressed, you can think what you want. No matter what we show on the outside, we can keep a part of us safe and for ourselves.
6. Use the Power: We have the power to think something, then change our feelings through our belief. Therefore, if we think and believe the right things, we can change the negative into not existing or into good feelings. We are changing a negative into positive. For Example: You can use this energy created by these negative times as a catalyst to create positive change. Others have turned great problems, tragedies, hardships into good and so can you. It is possible you can even come through this better than you were before. You can use your power of belief to change yourself in this very moment and any time you believe it. Simply believe this and you can use the power anytime. (See Step 5: Your Practice: Power)
7. Move On: If you are having a hard time, don’t stop or you will end up here. To put it another way, if your current path has led you into hell, don’t stop, keep going and make it through. If you stop, you will stay in hell. You can see this situation as a major life challenge that once overcome will mean you are stronger and better for it. It might be hard to see it at the time, but afterward it will become clear. Just do what needs to be done and move on. No guilt. Moving on does not mean the situation is ok, desirable, or even acceptable. It does not mean that it was right and that we agree or even that it's over. We can be hurt, damaged and even broken. Moving on means we are dealing with it in a positive way. Remember all good people want you to recover, learn and move on. So, punishing yourself is not the answer. It does not right any wrongs or make a positive difference. Only making peace and taking positive action will.
"When one door closes, another door opens. But, we so often look so long and regretfully upon the closed door, that we don’t see the ones which open for us." - A.G Bell
8. Help People: Unite with other people covered within Step 6 of The Way. I am listing this hear and again below because of its importance to overcoming NTDST. We all have needs that cannot be fulfilled entirely on our own. We need people. We need the world to help us in our positive development. We can look for support groups where people going through the same or similar things. If there aren't any groups like that, look for any group helping people with trauma. They might be able to help. The participation and comradery with others can help us greatly. You might help others who are going through something similar. You might find doing so actually helps you too. You might also just join a group doing something fun. However you do it, find your people and they will help lessen your load.
9. Animals and Nature: Both animals and nature can be a great positive boost. For Example: A dog, if treated well, is always glad to see you and is a great source of joy. Being in a beautiful natural environment can lift our mood simply by sensing it. Plants around our living space can bring in a sense of peace. Our bountiful world is a never-ending source of good feelings and positive energy.
10 Faith: Belief in God. Knowing you have purpose and are here for a reason is also a great resource. Remember, you are never alone and always have a friend in God. The meetings, ceremonies, rituals associated with a positive faith can help us through hard times.
11. Fix Our Society: As we have learned, some of our society is broken and this wrongness can create negative feelings. Here, even in the most desperate places, we can have a positive effect by working to fix these problems. Hope and action are very powerful and lead to the implementation of true solutions, be a source of positive energy and lift people up. Many of us are willing to sacrifice to fix big problems. This is how we can get better generation to generation when dealing with large societal issues.
12. Follow The Way. The Way is Living Rational Positive Action and is designed to help you find and create a meaningful life. It helps you fix and focus all aspects of your life in positive ways. The key virtues that help us overcome NTDST are being hopeful, mindful, resilient, persevering, disciplined, determined, persistent, dedicated, motivated, productive, responsible, controlled, centered, and patient. Living The Way everyday over time will ingrain key virtues that allow you to overcome challenges and the trials of life naturally. These virtues will fortify and immunize you against negative thinking, depression, and suicidal thoughts. The younger we build these key coping skills, the better we will do during these transitional moments of life. This is because we will be prepared for life's ups and downs. While the whole of The Way will help, here are some things to focus on fast:
Understand The 10 Laws covered in Step 4 in detail. There you find your purpose and meaning of life and what you should be doing. Knowing all of this helps create perspective on what is important, and this allows us to focus ourselves appropriately.
Follow a complete Daily Way (see step 5: Be) that covers all the foundations. This is because keeping on top of all these foundational areas allows for a smoother transitional period. Take special care with:
Sleep: Sleep is your time to escape and heal. Step 5: Foundation Sleep
Fuels: Fueling our bodies correctly (Light, Air, Water, Food, and Information) during these times can go a long way to helping improve everything. Step 5: Foundation Fuels
Supplements: Supplements to consider: St John's Wort, The HTP5, KAVA, correct levels of Vit B and amino acids. All help promote a better mood. Step 5: Foundation Fuels
Practice: Increasing the intensity and frequency of Your Practice in all areas can be very helpful.
Physical Workout: A good workout can lift a mood because it releases positive chemicals that make us feel better. It also washes out the negative chemicals. So be sure to do some good longer workouts that allow you to really get going and sweat. This is very important, just don’t push too hard and hurt yourself. We can use our work out to help keep us balanced as well as when we are at our lowest to lift us up. Step 5: The Practice/Body
Transmutation: Use transmutation to change negative energy into positive. Step 5: The Practice: Mind/Transmutation
Meditation: The mental practice part of Our Practice includes meditation. Increasing the frequency and session length of meditation during these times can be very helpful. Going through all the different techniques is a good way to get and stay on track. Step 5: The Practice, Mind/Mediation
Unite with other people. This was mentioned above and here because of its importance. Friends, family, support groups, events, etc. are all ways we can join with others. To be truly successful, your best, happy, and to have a positive effect on large issues, you must unite with other people. This allows us all to offer and receive happiness, help, motivation, inspiration as well as participate in solutions. See Step 6 of The Way for more.
13. Replace Repetitive Negativity with the Positive: We don’t stop and do without. Instead, we replace it with something good. This is a very important point for you to realize. We are not trying to stop any negative thing. For Example: We don’t try to quit smoking. Instead, we live a healthy lifestyle. The focus is not on stopping the negative, it’s doing the positive. Focus on the solution. What you do defines you. Living rational positive action in all key aspects of life naturally crowds out and immunizes us against negative thinking, depression and suicidal thoughts.
So, if you catch yourself thinking something negative, immediately say something positive like an affirmation instead. You can even pick affirmations that are the opposite from what you were thinking. For Example: Say to any negative thought, "I am doing good. I am working hard. I am changing for the positive. That’s not true or that does not matter or that is meaningless".
If you have a negative thought, you don't have to agree. Fighting against them, denying them, countering them with something positive can be effective in changing our belief system. We can think of it like our subconscious is testing us, and it's our answer back that matters. Do we just agree and accept the negative or do we reject it and throw it back replacing it with love and goodness? See All 7 Steps of the Way and how the work together: The Way Conclusion for more.
14. Drugs: This is not a requirement or even a recommendation. This is included so you know your options. See doctor for advice.
- Prescription Drugs: There are prescription drugs that claim to help with depression. The caution here is that most prescription drugs often only mask symptoms and do not treat the cause. They also can do other long-term harm and cause dependency.
- Natural Drugs: There are also plants that humans have used throughout history that can help us gain a positive perspective at these trying times. Plants like marijuana, peyote, ayahuasca, and certain mushrooms have been used at key moments. With all drugs, there are risks and they all need to be understood before trying something. It should be noted that these are listed as options because of the fact many people suffering from PTSD, fears, loss and other trauma have benefited greatly from the experiences associated with these substances and others like them. The key is to use them as an experience, learn and integrate the learning into our life, not to use them to escape problems. If ever using them, be safe, do not smoke them if possible, and ensure that they have never been exposed to herbicides, insecticides or other poisons.
7 Reasons Why Not to Kill Yourself
For those of us who are thinking about killing ourselves, consider these facts.
"Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact." William James
- Because It’s Not What You Really Want: Read above. What you really want is for things to get better and to live a wonderful life. You don’t really want to kill yourself.
- Because It's Not Needed: You don’t need to kill yourself because there is a way out. See why above.
- Hurting Others: Know you will be hurting others that care for you. They will never get over it. It can even cause depression and suicidal thoughts in them. Do you really want to inflict that on people who care for you?
- No Good Person: No good person would want you to end your life. They want you to get better, move on and live a wonderful life!
- Lost Love One: If this situation is caused by the death or loss of a loved one, even a child, know that the person would NOT want you to feel bad, hurt or kill yourself because of them. Honor them by using the energy to become a better person and do good in our world.
- Failure: If you try to kill yourself, it might not work, and you can end up worse off like be damaged mentally or physically, in jail or in a mental institution.
- Faith: Many faiths put a penalty on suicide. Fear of this negative consequence on this level should make any believer stop and reconsider.
In the end, you can learn the skills needed to overcome negative thinking, depression and suicidal thoughts (NTDST) no matter what stage you are in. We can also join together and create a better world that will naturally help us all avoid many of the situations that cause these problems. Believe you have the power and deserve to move on. If you are looking for permanent change, look for help in The Way as the steps are designed to help you create positive change within your life throughout time. The Keys: Think! Believe! and Act! You can do this!