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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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    Think Outside the Box

    So, where in your life do you confine yourself inside the box? Are there certain areas of your life that you are remaining comfortable, even though you may desire more? Do you feel there are very specific rules when it comes to making life changes? Those individuals who are truly successful say time and time again that they needed to think outside the box. They knew they needed to try what others weren’t. They needed to be willing to take risks in order to move ahead. I am very comfortable thinking outside the box. When I follow others and try to conform to their belief system or way of doing things, I feel extremely confined and uncreative. Whether you are too comfortable in a bad relationship, or you are unhappily secure in your current job, there are always opportunities to expand and find your own rhythm. Being comfortable is ok if that is what you are striving for. If, however, you are feeling bored, unenthusiastic, or confined with your life, then it may be time to take a step outside of the box you have created for yourself. Do you know people that constantly raise the bar and try new things? Are you a bit envious? Sometimes thinking outside the norm and then acting on these feelings makes you feel alive again. Just remember that you are the only one who can create a box around yourself, just as you are the only one that can step outside the self-imposed box. Your choice!

    1. Any boxes?

    What boxes do you surround yourself by? Remaining in an unhealthy relationship for fear of being alone?  Are you staying “as is” at work instead of pushing yourself and exploring your strengths? Are you content with your current friends, even if they aren’t the most positive and supportive group? Just take a step back from your life and see what comes to mind. You need to acknowledge this first before you are able to move forward.

    2. Deep rooted desires

    Maybe deep down you have desired certain things out of your life, but you’ve never given yourself the support or opportunity to explore them. Are you too comfortable in certain areas of your life and are you wanting to push the boundaries a bit? Write down what thoughts you have had in the past, the ones you have either ignored or pushed aside.

    3. Time to act

    You obviously don’t want to act on all your desires at once. Pick and choose the ones that take top priority, and take small steps first. By taking small risks, you will boost your confidence and begin to see real results. These results will build your momentum so that you can take larger risks. You will realize fairly quickly that stepping outside your self-imposed boxes will lighten you up emotionally, while giving you the boost to make changes that you’ve desired for a while.

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