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Depression affects nearly one in six people at some point in their lives.  Anyone can become depressed, but many experts believe genetics play a role. Having a parent or sibling with depression increases your risk of developing the disorder.
Women are twice as likely as men to become depressed. And men exhibit different signs of depression than women do.  They may become irritable, angry, or unhappy with their jobs, and may not show any signs of sadness.  They might feel hopeless or helpless.
Depression is not a sign of weakness or a negative personality.  It is a serious medical illness….. a health problem related to changes in the brain, and the top cause of disability in American adults.Our culture admires will power and mental toughness and is quick to label anyone who falls short of that, as a whiner. But, people who have clinical depression are not lazy or feeling sorry for themselves. Nor can they “will” depression to go away.

Some life events cause sadness or disappointment, but do not become clinical depression. Grief is normal after a death, divorce, loss of a job, or diagnosis with a serious health problem. One clue that helps determine the need for treatment: the sadness is constant every day, most of the day. When people are weathering difficult times appropriately, they can usually be distracted or cheered up for short periods of time.

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Four Ways to Stay Hopeful about the Future

I’ve always believed that our thoughts are powerful—so powerful that they can influence what lies ahead. If we focus on our past difficulties and fears, we find ourselves struggling to nurture positive feelings about the next chapter. Here’s a plan for remaining optimistic.

1. Imagine the way you’d like your future to look.

Having a clear vision of what you desire evokes a sense of excitement, and issues an invitation to the future to pull you forward. Believing in your vision is the surest way to attract what you want in life; the key is to keep that vision energized with positive thoughts for tomorrow, regardless of what today looks like.

2. Move through your fear and let go of the past.

It’s natural for human beings to fear the unknown, and the future falls into that category; none of us can predict what’s to come. But what we can control is our mind-set. Don’t hold yourself back because you’re afraid or because you’ve been hurt. Instead, acknowledge your fear, accept it, and walk through it with confidence. Letting go is like a mental, emotional, and spiritual delete button. It doesn’t change what happened, but it removes that event’s power to continue hurting you. Until you make peace with your difficult memories, that pain will continue to bleed into your current and future experiences.

3. Stop rehearsing your limitations.

Talking constantly about what you cannot do and do not have can become habitual, and talking about what you don’t want to happen—”I don’t want to be single forever!” “I don’t ever want to go through that again!” “I don’t want to be broke!” – can end up becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

4. Live well today.

Often our lives are so overwhelming, over-committed, and exhausting that it feels like we will never accomplish everything we set out to. This leads us to believe that tomorrow will bring us more of today……..a day in which we’ll continue to be stressed. To pump some life and excitement into your future possibilities, you need to be joyful, peaceful, and grateful for what you have and what you’re doing right now. This means spending time resting, working, learning, nourishing, preparing, and loving. When we do things that keep us feeling alive and hopeful, we learn to look forward to a brighter and better future.

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