As we mature we inevitably go through many experiences, and some of those will not be pleasant, or at least not as we expected and hoped for. Sometimes those experiences will drive us into an unpleasant emotional state and that may degenerate into a foul feeling, and if it persists too long into a depression. From there, if we haven’t learned how to solve the problem, or to cope with the nasty state of affairs, we will sink even further into a blackness and at the end of that is a frozen psychotic gloom.

Some people will struggle to put a positive spin on their life experiences and smile through even the most difficult times, or at least endure with the idea that even this will eventually come to an end. A person who has had a positive childhood, with no challenges so serious that they could not cope, where they were totally out of control of their own mental situation, will be better able to cope with serious situations as an adult. A child who was repeatedly brutalized by a drunken adult is probably always going to have difficulty in coping with serious problems, because their experience with problems has consistently led to overwhelming failure.

A child who had considerable support from helpful parents, and almost always overcame their serious problems, will have developed the habits that will help them struggle mightily to succeed when they are a full-grown adult. What helps these people to struggle successfully is the habit of being in an emotionally positive state of mind most of the time. When people are in a positive mood they can think about alternatives, but when they are in a negative mood they have trouble generating alternatives; and when they are overwhelmed with stress they will be locked into a fight, flight, or freeze mode. Of these the most incapacitating is the freeze mode, because when mentally there is no option for escape, there is only the hope that the problem will ignore you and go away. Sometimes that will work, but it is totally outside of one’s personal control.

Choosing to fight is a positive action, but it has the risk of losing, and if one loses, of being much worse off than before one struck out. The option of fleeing has the advantage of not taking the risks of combat, but it has the disadvantage of abandoning everything you own, to save yourself. Also, it might not work and the problems will catch up with you, but then you still have the option of fighting, and have the advantage of choosing the exact moment of attack.

What I wanted to emphasize was the advantage of having a personal decision at all times and that requires having a flexible state of mind. And having a free mind is most available when one is feeling in control of the situation. In a depression there is no flexibility, but with an exuberant state of mind there is flexibility and then there are options.

Get yourself into a positive state of mind right before making decisions.