9 Steps To Fix Depression for Entrepreneurs
30% of all entrepreneurs experience depression. Anxiety, panic attacks, and mood swings are the common flu among entrepreneurs. If you are affected, I am sharing my strategy, how I overcame the depression. Here is my strategy to overcome that.
Step 1: List potential roots of your anxiety
List anything that comes to your mind. For me, the anxiety was rooted in the lack of incongruency between the reality and expectations.
Step 2: Identify your mental errors
During the depression, you are making mental errors. Your thinking is distorted. In other words – what you think is true is not necessarily the truth. You might make different thinking errors depending on each time when you sense anxiety or feel down. Those errors are called cognitive distortions and here is the list of them (by prof. David Burns from Stanford University School of Medicine):
1. Black-and-white thinking (You only see extremes)
2. Overgeneralization (You see single event as an ongoing pattern)
3. Only negative mental filter (You only see negatives of the situation)
4. Disqualifying the positive (You reject positive experiences)
5. Jumping to conclusions (You make negative conclusions about what might happen even though you don’t have facts to support those conclusions)
6. Magnification (You exaggerate the importance of things)
7. Emotional reasoning (You assume that emotions reflect reality)
8. Should statements (You motivate yourself with should and shouldn’t ending up harming yourself)
9. Labeling yourself (You give yourself or others a label only because of certain event)
10. Personalization: (You see yourself as the cause of negative events).
Step 3: Break the lethargy cycle
Mental errors cause unwanted emotions and actions. Understand those bad emotions are caused by bad thoughts. Bad thoughts are caused by thinking errors. It is necessary to list all the bad thoughts that cause bad emotions. For example, I am angry and stressed when my prospect hangs up on me. The misleading thought might be: “I am a bad salesperson”. But then it is important to identify thinking error. In this case, it is overgeneralization (You see the single event as an ongoing pattern) and Black-and-white thinking (You only see extremes). The solution is to ask yourself then, how do you perform on other calls. Do you close sales sometimes? Yes, you do. Then, given that you close sales on other calls, are you still a bad salesperson because of the one event?
Step 4: Take care of your body
Quit sugar, fried food, alcohol, drugs, and cigarets. They deepen mood swings. Start yoga, meditation, gym and running, those maintain the more stable mood.
Step 5: Talk with the people you love
Share struggles with your mum, girlfriend and best friend. Ask them for help and share what you think.
Step 6: Talk to yourself during long and boring yet mind-calming walks
Take long walks and analyze yourself. Think about possible outcomes of your decisions and on what you want in life.
I made a video about going to nature and surrounding yourself with your friends (cool drone and GoPro shots included):
Step 8: Automate Processes in Your Company to Get Rid of Stress
I wrote a blog post on how to do that, you can check it here.
Step 9: Decrease your irritation tendency
The higher your IQ, the higher tendency to get irritated you have. Irritation leads to anger, that leads to stress.
“If you have a particularly high IQ. it puts you at a great disadvantage because you ·overreact to frustrations and disappointments by creating feelings of resentment that blacken your disposition and make your life a joyless hassle” – D. Burns