how to overcome depression

Happiness Is For The Birds


It happens every morning.  Well before my alarm clock goes off.  Just as the sun is starting to come up, the birds outside my bedroom window lose their minds.  They start chirping and rustling around, so excited about a new day.  And while I am trying to get a few more hours of sleep, all I can hear is these happy little birds outside my window.  My initial reaction is anger.  I need my beauty sleep!  Don't the birds understand this?  But why does this annoy me so much?  Why can’t I join in on their joy fest?

It’s instinct for a bird to be happy in the morning.  They don’t have the human-made stresses that block their happiness.   They don't have to worry about whose turn it is to drive the carpool today.  They don't have to dread going to a dead end job that they hate.  They don't have to spend the day worrying about if they are overeating or not exercising enough.  When the sun comes up, they couldn’t be more excited to be alive.  Not a worry in the world.  All they care about is how great it is that the sun is coming up.  It's a new day.  New opportunities.  New worms to eat.  How exciting! 

As I started thinking more about it, I thought it was interesting that my first reaction was anger.  How could I be angry at something for being happy?  True, it was interrupting my oh-so-precious beauty sleep, but that was not their intention.  It's not like the birds are out there planning how to make my life miserable.  They just have such a strong sense of joy that they can't contain themselves.  They just have to let the world know how awesome it is to have this new day so they sing.  They shout.  They play.  They live! 

And this may sound a little corny, but I really want to be more like those birds.  I want to be excited to be alive every morning.  I want to see all the opportunities that await me when the sun starts coming up.  And I want to sing it out loud for everyone to hear, even those people that don't want to hear it.  Because it's been my experience that the people that don't want to hear it are the people that need to hear it the most.

I need to hear those birds every morning.  I need them there to remind me that today is going to awesome.  I'm alive and that's a gift.  I don't need to sleep the day away.  I need to get up and start singing.  Start shouting.  Start playing.  Start living!  And I need to tell the world that new opportunities and new worms await!

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How To Find True Joy

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Name your vice.  We all have at least one.  And while some are cute and innocent, others create a huge burden and destroy lives.  And most vices keep us from experiencing true joy.  They steal it away and leave us feeling empty and drained.  There is only one way to find our way back to feeling true joy.

You get to a certain point in life where you have to weigh what's really important.  You need to take good care of yourself but at the same time not torture yourself.  You need to have little things you can look forward to throughout your day.  Some of these can be good for us like going for a walk, talking to a friend, reading a good book, etc.  But sometimes our little things can be unhealthy choices like smoking cigarettes, drinking to excess, or overeating.  All of which I have personally struggled with.  The "joy" that we get from these unhealthy vices is not real joy.  It's temporary comfort and it will only get us so far and then leave us with nothing.

When we spend all your time and energy focusing on these temporary comforts, they become our only source of happiness.  We've all experienced those days where all we want to do is have a cigarette or a drink or a Big Mac and it will make everything better.  We become so obsessed with obtaining our little comfort that we start to ignore all the things that could actually give us true joy.  What's worse, is these little vices usually steal away our energy to pursue the things that would bring us true joy.  For example, the things in my life that bring me true joy are achieving goals, getting in shape, spending time with family and friends and creating music.  When I sit at home and eat pizza and ice cream all day, this temporary comfort steals away my energy and motivation to do anything else.  I feel bloated, lethargic and gross.  Now, instead of pursuing those things that would bring me real joy, I only have the energy to watch Netflix and go to bed.

The real joy comes when we conquer our addictions and achieve our goals.  It comes from changing our bad behaviors and embracing new ones that will guide us to victory.  Losing 20 pounds, that's true joy.  Spending time with people who love you, that's true joy.  Pursuing your dream job, that's true joy.  I know when I start to feel miserable it's because I am spending all my energy on temporary comforts and I don't have enough things in my life that are feeding me real joy.

I know change is hard.  And breaking bad habits takes time.  But while you are working on that, make sure you have lots of "joy givers" in your life every day.  Go outside.  Go for a walk  See more sunsets and sunrises.  Go to more movies.  Go to more concerts and Broadway shows.  Get involved in community events.  Get a dog.  And give money to everyone who asks.  Give more.  Love more.  And go achieve your goals.  That’s where we find true joy.  And eventually, you will be so busy with these true joy giving activities, that you will eventually not have any time or energy left for the ones that steal it away.  And I don't know about you, but that would make me pretty darn happy!

How To Get Out Of A Rut


I have been struggling lately.  I have been feeling frustrated, annoyed and agitated.  I feel like all the joy has been sucked out of my life.  Don't get me wrong, I know that I have an amazing life.  I am truly blessed with so many great relationships as well as opportunities, both personal and business.  I get a lot of satisfaction from the work I do with Soul Motivation Records.  But some of the other things in my life have become such a chore devoid of any real reward.  I feel like I am stuck in a rut.  Stuck in a cycle that I can't get out of.  Things I use to love have become things that I "have" to do instead of things that I "get" to do.  What happened?  What changed?  When did everyday life become so mundane?  I've been thinking a lot about this as well as confiding in a few close friends, and I have widdled the problem down to two things I need more of in my life.


I am a workaholic and I definitely have an obsessive personality.  When I get focused on something, I spend all of my time on that thing.  And that's not always bad.  That is how I became an accomplished musician.  It took years of obsession, sitting at a piano, listening to a song over and over again, and learning it note by note.  Or hours and hours of listening to great piano players and then figuring out how to play what they played.  This same drive then turned into an obsession with Soul Motivation Records.  I am on a mission to reach the world with a  message of positivity and possibility.  I want my business to thrive as well as to help other people thrive.  It is my new obsession and I love it.  It takes extreme focus to develop any skill, so I'm thankful that I have this quality.

But the bad part about obsession is we tend to focus all of our energy on one thing and let a whole lot of other things lack.  We become unbalanced and not very well-rounded human beings.  By focusing on music and business, I have let some other very important parts of my life get away from me.  Mainly my physical health, my spiritual health, and my social life.  I have not been spending enough time exercising or getting outside.  I have not been going to church or having enough spiritual conversations with people.  I have not been doing anything just for fun.  I can't tell you the last time I even went out and saw a movie.  And I have so many amazing people in my life that I just don't spend enough time with.  This is a big part of the reason I have been so frustrated lately.  My life is out of balance and the only way to fix that is to be sure to pay attention to the things that are lacking and make it a point to improve in these areas.  According to Zig Ziglar's "Wheel Of Life," there are the seven areas of life we all need to be focusing on.  Take a look at these seven areas and ask yourself if you truly putting enough time into all seven.



When we start to feel agitated and frustrated, this is often a sign that we need to make a change in our life.  And I'm talking big change.  Leap of faith change.  Sink the ship change.  I think we all get to a point in our lives where things get stagnant and we know we cannot continue on the same path.  And the angst and frustration is God's way, or our mind's way, of telling us it is time to change.  We can fight it as long as we want, but that nagging feeling will never leave until we finally make a change. 

Change is hard.  As much as we need it sometimes, we spend our whole life fighting it.  It is way easier to continue to go to a job that you hate, then it is to go into your boss's office and quit, gather up your things, say goodbye to everyone, go home and explain what you did to your family, start searching for another job, write your resume, go to interviews, etc.  The change part just sounds like so much work so we make excuses to let ourselves off the hook like "Oh my job isn't that bad," or "Nobody would ever hire me anyway."  With the help of our excuses, we just accept our fate and continue down our miserable path.  But what a waste of a life.  If you feel the pull to make a change, you owe it to yourself and the world to see it through!  Yes, change is hard, but amazing things await on the other side.  You truly can be happy.  You can have joy in your life.  You can have a job that makes you feel fulfilled.  Not only CAN you have these things but you DESERVE these things.  So don't run from change, embrace it.  Dream about the life you want to live and then make the changes necessary to make your dreams a reality.

You don't have to just accept that life is unfair and we are meant to be miserable.  This is a lie that you or possibly those around you are telling you.  If you are feeling frustrated or agitated, there is a reason.  And I'd be willing to bet it is one of these two things.  Take a serious look at your life.  Do you have balance in your life?  Is there something you really need to change but have been avoiding?  Now is the time to face these things.  That is exactly what I am doing and I am seeing hope.  There are some big changes on the horizon for me.  It is time to find some balance and to call up the courage to make some big decisions in my life.  It may get a little crazy but I am ready.  And I will keep you posted on all the changes as they come.  I know there is a way out of this frustrating rut I have been in.  And that is truly exciting!  Come join me and let's break out of this rut together.  Amazing things await us both!

How To Look Forward To Tomorrow

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As far back as I can remember, I have always struggled with looking forward to tomorrow.  I am constantly trying to draw out today as long as I can because I am always dreading the things I have to do the next day.  And as you might guess, this can lead to a lot of bad habits.  Instead of going to bed at a reasonable time, I stay up all night eating junk food and watching movies.  I will do anything I can to keep the "dream" alive and not "give up" and go to bed.  To those more well adjusted folk out there, this may sound like crazy talk.  Who doesn't know to go to bed early so they can rise early and refreshed?

This guy, that's who.

And I know I'm not alone.  I know there are many of us out there.  Sometimes we call ourselves "Night Owls" but really we are just afraid to go to sleep.  Going to sleep is like giving up.  Going to sleep means we have to get up in the morning and do it all over again.  It seems like too much to bear.  Tomorrow feels like too much work and we want to avoid it as long as possible.  I've been this way since I was a little kid.  I think most kids don't want to go to bed.  They feel like they are missing out on all the fun stuff if they go to bed before the adults.  Most people grow out of this as they get older.  And some don't.  Some never stop feeling like they are missing out on something by going to bed early.

I often wonder how many more people would struggle with this if they didn't have a job that made them get up early.  I mean, you won't keep a job for long if you keep showing up when you want to.  I have almost always worked for myself.  Being a musician, all my "jobs" are at night, so I am blessed with the gift of setting my own morning schedule.  This is both a blessing and a curse, however, because no one is there to make me get up at 8 am.  I can sleep until noon if I want to.  Sounds like heaven, right?  And don't get me wrong, it is awesome in a lot of ways.  But you also become your own worst enemy because you start sleeping in every day and suddenly you aren't getting anything done.  You know you need to get up earlier, but then the next morning comes and you keep deciding to sleep in.  It's madness, really.  How do we overcome this?  How do we get to the place where we aren't fearing tomorrow but looking forward to it?  How do we become so excited about tomorrow that we can't wait to get up in the morning?

After years of soul-searching, I have found these are the 6 keys to help me look forward to tomorrow and to get up and seize the day!

1.  Excitement for what I want to do must outweigh the dread for what I have to do

This is the hardest one but the most important.  We all have things we have to do that we don't want to do.  But if our life is filled with those tasks only, we are going to get burned out very fast.  It is really important that we have a clear picture of what we want to do with our lives.  We need to find our true calling, our purpose, that thing that we were put on this earth to do.  Then we need to have concrete goals that we are working to achieve.  If we can get laser-focused on the things we want to achieve in life, then we can get up every day with an excitement to take another step closer to those goals.  If you don't know what your one thing is yet, I would strongly urge you to do some soul-searching.  It is out there, you just have to find it.  And once you do, your life will change forever!

2.  Must overcome the "Dread of the Physical"

It is crucial that we take good care of ourselves.  We need to eat right and exercise daily.  We all know this, but a lot of us don't do it and then wonder why we have no energy or why we are depressed.  When you don't eat well, you don't feel well and then everything becomes harder because your body is tired, achy and lacking the nutrition it needs to function well.  It is crucial you treat your body right.  If you do, then you will be excited to get up and conquer the day!

3.  Must overcome the "Fear of the Physical"

This one is very closely linked to number two.  If you are not taking good care of yourself, fear can start to creep in and take over.  We start to worry more about our health when we are not taking good care of ourselves and this uses up so much energy.  It also causes a lot of unnecessary stress and can make us want to just stay in bed all day.  But if you are eating well and exercising, you can feel good that your body is healing and doing the things it needs to do to stay healthy and these fears are destroyed.

4.  Must have a clean and comfortable nest

Clean your house!  I did an article about how to overcome negativity (you can read it by clicking here) and one of the steps in that article was also to clean your house.  This is so often overlooked yet so important to our happiness and mental well being.  We need a comfortable nest.  We need to get up in the morning and know we will be in an environment that is clean and organized.  When we live in a mess, our lives become a mess.  So clean your house and be proud of your nest!

5.  Must have strong relationships

John Donne said it best - "No man is an island."  Human beings are not meant to live alone in solitude.  We are social creatures.  And I get it, some of us are introverts.  I know I am.  I love being alone most of the time.  But I have learned that I cannot be alone all the time.  I need good people in my life.  I need love.  And I need to be needed by others.  We all do.  We all need people that we can't wait to interact with.  This can be family, friends or even just acquaintances we enjoy at work.  This can even include pets.  We just need someone we can't wait to get up and love and know they will love us back.

6.  Must have music

Of course, I am going to drop this one in there.  But it is really true for me and I think most people.  Music is amazing.  It's a game changer.  And if you haven't tuned in to how much music can change your life, you maybe haven't found the right music yet.  Keep exploring until you find the soundtrack of your soul.  It's worth it.  Some days it is only the excitement of the music I get to listen to that gets me out of bed.  Music is powerful.  And it will always be there waiting to help you get your day started.

Don't give up my friend.  There is a path for you.  Tomorrow should be a blessing, not a curse.  Us "Night Owls" just need to find our own path to that blessing.  It's there.  Right in front of you.  Just like tomorrow, it is waiting for you to discover it's beauty.  So go to bed because a world of opportunity is waiting for you!  See you tomorrow!

P.S.  I have a playlist called Smooth Jazz Piano's Best that is one of my go-to's when I am struggling and need some music to lift me up!  It's full of fun, groovy and inspiring smooth jazz that I think you would really enjoy!  Hit the button below to get the playlist now.  Don't worry, it's totally free!

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Never Stop Fighting

I just got done watching the movie "The Beaver?"  Have you seen it?  It is a quirky and interesting movie starring Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster and some others.  The basic premise of the movie is that a highly depressed CEO (Mel Gibson) finds help and motivation from a beaver puppet through which he communicates to the world.  I know, kind of weird.  But it is actually a pretty good movie.  One of the big takeaways from the movie is the idea that what if everything isn't going to be okay?  Meaning, some of us may always struggle with depression or other mental illnesses.  It may just be in our DNA and there is nothing we can do it about that.  The good news is, however, you don't have to struggle alone.  If you have people who love you in your life, you'll be okay as they can help you through the hard times.

Never Stop Fighting

Do I 100% agree with this analysis?  I don't know.  Honestly, I often wonder the exact same thing.  Maybe we are predisposed to what our mental health will be for the rest of our lives.  But one thing I do know is that there is still something we can do about it.  We can fight.  Everyday we can get up and decide to fight for ourselves, fight for our mental health, fight for positivity in our lives.  We still have the freedom of choice and we can choose how we want to feel everyday.  Maybe happiness comes easier to some than others, that may be true.  But we all have the opportunity to choose the pursuit of joy, peace and contentment.  That much I do know.

I also totally agree with the movie that we don't have to do it alone.  We are surrounded by loving, caring humans who believe in us.  Even when we don't believe in ourselves.  We need to embrace these relationships with our friends, families, co-workers and even casual acquaintances.  And if we don't have enough of these loving people in our lives, then it is our duty to go out and find them.  They are there you just have to go out and create relationships with them.  I have certainly had times in my life where I felt alone and I felt like loneliness was my destiny.  But then I realized that was a lie I was telling myself.  I deserve to be happy.  I deserve to have loving relationships.  All I have to do is get up, go out, find these people and get them in my life.  And what do you know, it turns out I wasn't alone after all!

The bottom line is even if we struggle with depression, we still can find happiness.  Get up and choose to pursue happiness.  Embrace the love that is all around you.  And most importantly, never stop fighting.  As long as we never give up fighting, we win!

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