The Connection between Negativity and Depression


Negativity towards a conflicting feeling seems like it can keep an inner conflict from getting resolved. Above is an example of two such situations, where negativity shuts down a feeling due to its own priorities, refusing to listen.

Not too long ago, I published an article on the potential connection between inner conflicts and depression. It seems to me, though, that negativity also plays a large role, specifically in suppressing and thus prolonging inner conflicts.

Let’s say that a person is in an inner conflict, or more specifically, that they’re hesitating about something they’re thinking of doing. Then let’s say the person becomes strongly negative towards their own hesitation, and just goes ahead with what they were going to do. In some situations, this may seem courageous, but in this case, shutting out a hesitation could not only mean putting one’s self in danger (due to ignoring caution), but also it means shoving past those feelings of hesitation. And when one ignores one’s own feelings, I do not think, in most cases, they just disappear – those feelings are probably still there swimming around, and the person trying to ignore them may feel all kinds of chaos inside them as a result of those feelings clashing with their own determination. Continue reading

Balancing Progress with Actual Interest

It can be easy to be interested in making progress in any area of life – it can feel like our stockpile of riches is growing, and this can seem very exciting. However, there are also times when making progress can feel like a chore, instead of a joy.

This is not a post about how one might go about changing one’s feelings about progress so that it isn’t a chore, but rather how this kind of feeling can be understandable. Continue reading

Changing Feelings with Awareness

Instead of looking at our actions, if we look at the feelings we have about our actions, we might be able to change our feelings more easily

Instead of looking at our actions, if we look at the feelings we have about our actions, we might be better able to change those feelings

Sometimes it seems like we can fret and worry as we try to be a certain kind of person. Maybe we want to be wise, or kind, or friendly, or calm. Maybe we want to be playful, or to feel like we always have something to give. But, when we are worried about these things, how can we get anywhere but to a state of being worried? Maybe we get angry, frustrated, restless, impatient, demanding, or fearful. Maybe we get upset at how we’re not where we want to be.

As you can maybe see, we can’t necessarily get to the feelings and states we prefer just by wanting to get there. This want can even take us further away! We can end up in a more negative state just from our desire to be in a positive one. It’s like the problem of being annoyed at being annoyed – it just doesn’t work like that, except maybe as a motivation to look into the issue, since it’s proving to be such an annoyance.

So if wanting a better inner state doesn’t work for feeling better, what does? Continue reading

How to Stay in the Flow

Separation of Mind and Feelings (Exiting Flow)

Sometimes when feelings change direction, our mind can remain fixed on where we thought we were going to go. This seems to be one of the main ways we exit flow. That said, returning our attention to our feelings can help us return to flow.

Ok, first of all, what is flow? I’d say that when I talk about flow, I’m talking about a kind of experience, one where it feels as though we’re fluidly moving along, rather than in starts and stops. But what is moving fluidly? Well, perhaps it is one’s mind, since the mind can also become fixated or get stuck on one topic or another. It seems to me, though, that one thing that is always flowing fluidly, even as we fight it mentally, is our feelings. Why is this? It seems as though feelings seem to flow from one moment to the next because they change in response to what’s going on in the moment. One moment to another…

Well speaking of which, my feelings just changed on this topic, because it feels to me like I’m trying to describe things I don’t fully understand. The thing is, I had a strategy in that last paragraph, in terms of what I was going to talk about. I was going to define flow, and how feelings flow and how the mind can get stuck… but truth is, I’m not positive on those details. But what I do know is that feelings can inspire unexpected changes in direction, and that when I talk about “flow”, what I’m really talking about is the ability to flow with those unexpected directions. Maybe you don’t always take those directions, but perhaps there is something to consider in the way one’s feelings change. One can observe feelings, be aware of them, and strive to better understand them through techniques like expression of those feelings.

Staying in the flow, for me, amounts to staying close to one’s feelings. That experience is like a flow, and we, present to our feelings, can flow along with them.

Many times, though, we can get stuck. We stop flowing. Why?

Continue reading

Fear of Feelings

Before I talk about the fear of feelings, let me start with an anecdote:

Like a microwave emitting unexplained sounds, sometimes our feelings can bring something that feels scary into our experience of life

Like a microwave emitting unexplained sounds, sometimes our feelings can bring something that feels scary into our experience of life

A few days before writing this article, I was microwaving some food, and as I was walking away from the microwave, I heard a strange sound, like something inside the microwave was breaking. I made a joke of it in my mind at first, but when I heard it again I became concerned about what was actually causing it. Was the microwave really breaking? Should I stop reheating my food?

I went to check and it turned out that it was just some paper towel that was in there on the plate, catching on the edge of the microwave’s walls as the plate was trying to turn. The sound was just the plate trying to turn when the paper towel was getting in its way. At this point, I knew that it probably wasn’t a problem after all, because a stuck plate  was something I had seen before. And from my experience, a microwave could handle that, so there was no cause to intervene.

It occurred to me that this was a great example for how fear works. From my experience with dealing with fear, it’s mostly due to a lack of information that fear takes and keeps its hold, especially in situations where we don’t know how to gather more information. What we’re afraid of is like the sound in the microwave: something difficult to explain, and potentially concerning, that occurs within our experience. Something changes. Continue reading

Oliver’s Oct 2014 “Life Philosophies”

Recently, a family member asked me for a write-up of my life philosophies as a birthday present. What I ended up writing seemed to have a lot to do with what I write about here on this site, and was sort of a concatenation of some of the main ideas that I work with, have noticed, and feel confident enough in to share with others. Continue reading

Inner Conflicts: A Potential Cause of Depression

How Solving Inner Conflicts can Bring us out of Depression

How Solving Inner Conflicts can Bring us out of a Depressed State

Disclaimer: The model in this article attempts to describe how depression, as well as other conditions such as recklessness, shame, upset, and a lack of fulfillment may emerge. However, I just want to add a disclaimer that I don’t know if this model is 100% correct. It’s just a theory. Sufficient evidence might disprove parts or all of it, just as any theory or way of viewing reality can later be disproved. Continue reading