#132: Modes of thought, a pandemic of fear and three natural ways to beat depression

One thought from me: How we might move forward amid the pandemic of fear

It’s been a strange and different year for everyone.

The pandemic of fear and anxiety has been worse in many ways than the pandemic of illness.

Covid-19 has taken hundreds of thousands of lives, and each one is a tragedy.

Alongside it, an atmosphere of fear and anxiety has exploded — fear for our survival and the survival of our loved ones, fear for our livelihoods, anxiety about the food supplies, anxiety about meeting people.

The fear and the anxiety can easily, over time or in a moment, tip over into aggression and hate and violence.

Technology’s promise to connect us had already left us more disconnected (from nature, from each other, from ourselves) than we’d ever been.

The reality of living through the Covid pandemic has further disconnected us, fragmenting us into fearful individuals.

Some well-meaning advice during this time has been to “Behave as if you already have the virus”. And if we do so we become more disconnected than ever, in a perpetuating cycle that drives wedges between us all that we might never be able to bridge.

It’s tempting for some to cry conspiracy theories — the outcome of the past few months, with limited rights on gatherings, heavy restrictions on travel, and the quick move to face coverings as mandatory, could easily be taken out of the playbook of the millennia-old military and rulership strategy of “Divide and Conquer”.

Definition via Wikipedia:

gaining and maintaining power by breaking up larger concentrations of power into pieces that individually have less power than the one implementing the strategy.

The use of this technique is meant to empower the sovereign to control subjects, populations, or factions of different interests, who collectively might be able to oppose his rule.

Niccolò Machiavelli, in Book VI of The Art of War (1521): A Captain should endeavor with every art to divide the forces of the enemy … this act should be achieved either by making him suspicious of his men in whom he trusted, or by giving him cause that he has to separate his forces, and, because of this, become weaker.

Are we being controlled? Or are we good citizens, doing what’s necessary?

Are we more suspicious of each other, and everyone, and if so, are we weaker as a result?

A few things come to mind:

  • There is no such thing as simple explanations.
  • Government is not all good, or all evil.
  • Conspiracy theories are, the overwhelming majority of the time, just theories.
  • What happens in practice is a complex soup with millions of ingredients. Government policy may in some cases be as detached from practical reality (however we define reality) as conspiracy theories are.

What should we do?

As always, our most powerful asset is how we think.
Our thoughts influence our feelings, and our feelings influence our actions, and our actions influence our outcomes.
The best we can do, maybe, is to think about the way things work, and our place in the way things work, and how we can influence things.
We are more powerful than we might ever know. That power starts with how we think.
By thinking about how we think, we might notice the feelings and emotions that lie behind how we act.
That is a powerful first step.
When we act from a place of love and compassion instead of fear and anxiety, we bolster ourselves against the worst things in the world.
And we lay the foundations, little by little by little, to make things better: for ourselves, for the people we love, for our communities, and for the world.
We can only change the world if first we change ourselves.

One thought from someone else: Ways to naturally beat depression

Marisa Peer is a speaker,  trainer, author and practitioner of Rapid Transformational Therapy. She has nearly three decades of experience as a therapist and has been named Best British Therapist by Men’s Health magazine

In a recent video she posted on YouTube, she said that her decades of experience of working with people with depression, she has found that there are three big causes, and that if you know what they are you will be better equipped to get over depression.

Number 1: Depression is caused by harsh, hurtful and critical ways that you say to yourself on a daily basis.

Number 2: Failing to follow your heart’s desire.

Number 3: Being disconnected. We need people. We are tribal people living in modern bodies. In a tribe you were never alone. Now we don’t need to ever speak to people or see people. In Africa there’s intense poverty but strangely enough very little depression. The more community you have, the less depression you have.

What to do about them.

Number 1: Stop criticising yourself. Remember this. Criticism withers people’s soul. Make a commitment to stop being your own worst critic.

Number 2: It’s a myth if you haven’t made it by 35 you never will. Some of our most eminent artists and writers and performers find success later in life. It’s never, ever, ever too late to follow your heart’s desire. There’s always a way. Follow your heart’s desire. It will stop depression in its tracks.

Number 3: Remember connection is vital to your soul. People need people. You can find a tribe.

Lots more detail on these, including lots of sage advice about antidepressant medication, in this 11-minute video by Marisa Peer.

A question for you

How are you thinking about things right now? In what ways are your thoughts and your mode of thinking influencing your feelings, actions and outcomes?