“‘True Leaders’ Can Harness Depression And Turn Impairment Into Fuel For Improvement,” States Leadership and Performance Advisor James Arthur Ray

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Suicide rates are at an all-time high in the U.S. and we’re only beginning to give depression and mental illness the attention it deserves. Leadership and performance advisor James Arthur Ray states these adversities can spur some to turn their lives around – if they know how to harness and convert it into fuel for better things.

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Turning an impairment into an opportunity for improvement can seem like the ultimate pipe dream for those struggling with depression. That’s because clinically-recognized depression is a serious problem with complications that, for the sufferer, feel like they could last a lifetime. We’re only beginning to recognize this problem in the U.S. and face it head-on, but there are proactive steps to take immediately.

According to life and business coach James Arthur Ray, who has climbed back into the driver’s seat following a career accident, professionals and other “true leaders” need to be self-aware of their own mental states and quickly convert those initial signs into a signal for improvement rather than impairment.

“Depression is a common experience, particularly in entrepreneurs, creatives and true leaders,” says Ray. “It’s the opposite of expression; and it’s human to feel it. It’s not ‘bad’ or ‘wrong.’ Only a signal.” According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, major depressive disorder (MDD) affects more than 16 million adults in the U.S. and typically rears its head around age 32, affecting more men than women. Armed with this knowledge, James Arthur Ray says that those in the working world can recognize their predisposition to MDD and become aware of what’s causing it.

How can “true leaders” turn the biofeedback that is depression into fuel for new expression? Read on:

  • Life’s challenges can get us down from time to time, but true leaders know that this is merely an opportunity to understand the shared human experience and look for the lesson to be learned. According to the research by Dr. Martin Seligman of positive psychology, “Optimist frame difficulties and ‘failures’ as ‘temporary’ versus permanent. As an added benefit to beating depression, Seligman finds that optimistic people outperform pessimistic people 10X1.”
  • As the stigma surrounding depression is demystified, we all gain a better understanding of contributing factors and ways to move forward. Keep those lines of communication open! Particulalry within yourself! Suppression is unhealthy and leads to disease.
  • Circumstantial depression comes on quick and differs from mental illnesses. However, both will prevent personal expression from occurring and that’s anathema to true leaders.
  • Research in neurosciences, brain plasticity, and elsewhere proves that the things you do to combat depression literally builds new neurological pathways in your brain. If you reach for alcohol, cigarettes, comfort food, stimulants, TV or other escapist mechanisms, these neural pathways get wired together and habituated. Much better to go for a swim, walk, have a hard workout, meditate or other less deleterious coping mechanisms.

“The true leader learns to take depression as a biofeedback mechanism that something is waiting to be expressed; and then finds that something, versus allowing depression to pull him down the drain. Feel the depression and allow it to fuel the new expression waiting to emerge,” says Ray.

About James Arthur Ray: James Arthur Ray is an award-winning life and business coach whose teachings have appeared in six internationally best-selling books and national TV programs.

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