“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
To paraphrase the famous Serenity Prayer, it is so important to recognize those things in our lives that we can change, and those things we cannot. While there may be a great deal in your own life that you cannot change, you may be surprised at how many things you can.
One of the keys to overcoming depression is to honestly and realistically evaluate your life. Then, develop a plan to accept those things that are unchangeable and a plan to change those that are possible. This requires taking stock of your life. Just as a storekeeper takes an inventory of all that he has, it is wise for us to make a tangible list of our physical, mental, and spiritual assets and liabilities. Make a list in your journal of all your responsibilities; write down what you want to do or be in addition to what you have already done or become, and consider what needs to happen (or stop happening) to fulfill your hopes and aspirations.
You may be reluctant to do this exercise for fear that it will make you even more depressed. But the objective of taking stock is not to create an inventory of all the things that are wrong with your life. Rather, taking stock will help to categorize the changeable and unchangeable things in your life to intentionally move forward, out of depression.
Too often, we live our lives feeling like spectators instead of active participants with the power to choose our own outcome. We get caught up in life’s flow, whether good, bad, or neutral. Wherever the currents take us, we go. It’s as if we are on autopilot, but depression happens when our autopilot gets stuck in a negative descent. Unless we can take intentional action, chances are that circumstances won’t force a change to the positive.
In other words, if you go along waiting for some “thing,” some event to alter the course of your depression, you’ll probably be disappointed. It’s time to take control and look at where you are in your life. It’s time to actively and intentionally participate in the course of your life.
Take a close look at the activities in your life. Determine if you have too many activities, along with the overall effect they are having on your life. Depression can occur when your activities are out of balance in the following ways:
- You have too many activities, and the sum of them outweighs their value. When you’ve got too many things going collectively, you’re too busy to enjoy any of them individually.
- You have many activities but too few worthwhile ones.
- You have too few activities in your life. When your biggest activity is inactivity, you rob yourself of the stimulation and engagement of purpose and people.
You may find that you are simply too busy. If so, you need to evaluate which activities to continue, and which to let go. Or perhaps you have isolated yourself from meaningful, worthwhile activities and will need to stretch and expand yourself. Intentionally changing the pace of your life can help you move forward in your recovery from depression.
If you are struggling with depression, The Center • A Place of HOPE is here to help. The Center has been voted a Top 10 Facility for the Treatment of Depression. For more information, fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to speak confidentially with a specialist today.