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How to shift Depression: A Complete Framework




In this article I want to share a few things…

  1. My story and battle with low self worth and depression

  2. Relevant pieces from I learned about myself and my emotions

  3. The frameworks I discovered and used to permanently pull myself out of the darkness


It’s for you to read if…

  1. You are curious about your own life and your own emotions

  2. You are struggling with low self worth or depression

  3. You are experiencing a dark night of the soul

  4. You’ve had some setbacks in life and don’t know how to shake them


In 2016 I messaged a friend of mine saying that I was depressed…





Publicly I was successful, publicly it looked like my life was amazing, but inside I was being tormented and I felt so ashamed that I didn’t want anyone to know about it…


I was coming to the end of an extremely toxic 3 year relationship that had cost me my wealth, my fitness, my sanity and my health…


I ended up in hospital with chronic stress…


I’d lost 15kg from my peak, I was ghost white, I had warts growing all over my body and I was so unwell that I couldn’t even drink water without vomiting…


Prior to my ‘breakdown’ I was killing it…


I had $100,000+ in cash in the bank, I owned two rental properties, I was extremely fit and competing internationally at CrossFit, and I had a great group of people that I was surrounded by…


After my ‘breakdown’ I was only the shell of a man I once was…


I’d lost everything meaningful, including my mental health…


Then for the following 6 years I felt like I was in a fight for my life, because I was…


Depression is horrible…


It’s dark, it’s heavy and it’s hopeless…


Over the 6 years there were times of success, like achieving a Guinness World Record, making over $1,000,000 in my business and speaking at events alongside some of my heroes like Tony Robbins, Les Brown and Dr John Demartini.


But beneath those success stories was a feeling of worthlessness that seemed impossible to shake…


I’m here to live the best life possible and help others do the same, and at that point in my life I definitely wasn’t living the best life possible…


Because of this hunger to live a great life I am always growing and seeking greater wisdom…


I became obsessed with understanding my mind and emotions, and the mechanics that drove the depression, and from there I could formulate a solution to get myself back on track…


I’ve contemplated death as the only option many times…


I’ve paid tens of thousands of dollars for support…


I’ve spent countless hours on my bedroom floor screaming and crying…


I’ve read, studied and researched many different perspectives…


I’ve invested years of my life building models, frameworks and solutions to completely eradicate depression…


And that is what I want to share with you in this article…


What is Depression & What Causes Depression?


Everyone is going to have their opinion, and some will contradict one another, but I’m going to keep it simple for you.


Depression is a temporary emotional state that is caused by expectations that are consistently not being met.


Depression is not a life sentence or a label.


Anytime we have an expectation that isn’t met we feel sad, pissed off or unhappy.


These expectations are often unconscious which means that we don’t even know they are there, we just feel the correlating emotion.


Part of your healing is to discover these hidden expectations and then remedy them which I will help you do later in this article.


Depression is chronic sadness.


Here is the formula…


A set of expectations haven’t been met + are still not being met + you can’t see how it will ever be met = Hopelessness, apathy and depression…


Apathy is when you give up trying…


Now, it’s an emotional state which means everyone has the capacity for it within themselves because all humans can access all emotions…


Everyone experiences varying degrees of the emotional state labelled ‘depression’ in their lives because really it is just a greater and more prolonged degree of sadness or even boredom (apathy)…


NOTE: Some people will argue that these are all different, and they are in some ways but they are also the same in many ways as well. By understanding how they are different degrees of the same thing will help you understand the whole thing a lot better.


Science is the art of breaking things down (separation) and so a scientist will easily be able to see how they are different. The medical system is based on science so will label things or put things in boxes (which can definitely help at times) to separate things for greater understanding.


Spirituality is the art of seeing how everything is the same (we are all one) and so a spiritualist will be able to see the similarities and how one thing affects everything else (which can definitely help at times).


Nothing is black or white, so try not to get caught in one camp or the other, both science and spirituality have their benefits, but for now we want to look at the similarities.


Imagine a scale from 1 - 10 where 1 equals mild sadness, 5 equals grief and 10 equals depression.


Everyone on earth sits on that scale at some point in their lives…


But the severity and degree of your experience depends on three core factors which I call the Levers of Pain…


The 3 Levers of Pain


The Perceived Value


When something is extremely important to us and we lose it, it hurts.


The more we value something the more painful it’s loss is.


If your intimate partner means the world to you and they die it’s going to hurt a lot more than someone of little value to you meeting the same demise.


If you value your financial position and you lose it all it’s going to crush you whereas if you don’t really care about money then losing it won’t really bother you.


When we lose what we value we suffer, and the degree to which we value something will equate to the degree in which we suffer when we lose it.


This is why spirituality teaches non-attachment as a means to end suffering, because if you’re not attached to it then its loss doesn’t affect you.


So that’s the first lever, the Perceived Value.


And the reason it is the perceived value is because everyone values things differently based on their beliefs, so not everything that is important to you is important to someone else.


This is why a child will “cry over spilt milk” but an adult has a more evolved set of values and isn’t going to worry about losing some milk to the floor.


Different values lead to different perceived value which leads to different amounts of pain when something is lost.


The Gap Of Disappointment


If we have extremely high expectations and they’re not met we are going to be extremely disappointed.


The bigger the gap from what you want or expect to happen versus what actually happens is what I call the Gap of Disappointment, and the bigger the gap the more severe the sadness, anger or depression.


As an example, if you usually get an end of year tax return of $3,000 but then one year you get a $2,800 tax return you’ll be ok, but if it suddenly dropped to $400 you’d probably be pretty frustrated, especially if you had made plans with what you wanted to do with the usual $3,000.



Whenever you expect something to be a certain way and it doesn’t end that way you’re going to experience the Gap of Disappointment.


The Duration of Suffering


This one is pretty self explanatory.


The longer someone is in pain, the more it wears them out and taxes their mental and emotional state leading to further degradation and suffering.


Not only that, but when something goes on and on without relief, the more you give up hope because nothing seems to be working…


This is why so many people give up on their dreams, because it takes so long to see the results and people start to believe something is wrong with them, when really there’s nothing to do with them, they just have to realise that multiple failures is part of the process and they must simply keep going…


The Trifecta


These three factors are the levers that dictate the degree of sadness and depression, but still at the heart of it all are expectations…


If you have expectations that aren’t met in an area of life that is extremely valuable to you and it carries on for long durations of time and you can’t see a way of it ever changing then you’re going to experience depression…


With all problems there are two empowering ways to create change…


You either change your mindset (in this case change your expectations)...


Or you change your mechanics (try something different to meet your expectations)...


My suggestion is to start with your mindset…


These expectations can also show up in the form of comparisons, because when you compare yourself to someone else, or you compare yourself to a certain ideal, beneath that comparison is something missing from your life and a hidden expectation that it “shouldn’t” be missing…


NOTE: The words “should” and “shouldn’t” point directly to an expectation so watch your language.


Some examples of expectations…


Expectations on Other People:

  • How your parents should treat you

  • How your partner should love you

  • How your peers at school should treat you

  • How society should treat you

  • How your boss or employer should treat you

  • How people online should treat you

  • How attractive your partner should be

  • How people should act in public

  • How people should dress or behave

Expectations on Events:

  • How a business deal should have gone

  • How an investment should have gone

  • How an event should have gone

  • How a date should have gone

  • How an intimate experience should have gone

  • How an altercation should have gone

  • How technology should perform or behave


Personal Expectations:

  • How much money you should have

  • How fit or healthy you should be

  • How attractive you should be

  • How good you should be at a certain activity


Those are some examples, but to keep it simple you really just need to look at any loss you have had in your life because when you lose something you already had it’s as if you are going backwards.


You are comparing yourself to how things used to be.


You have an expectation that you “should” have the thing you’ve lost.


Loss hurts…


But it only hurts because you had or have an attachment to it and you have an attachment to “how it should be”.


So loss is usually the biggest trigger for depression. So what have you lost?


What have you lost?

What are you comparing yourself to?

What expectations do you have around these things?


The Mental CAJE


All human suffering comes down to what I call the mental CAJE…


Comparisons

Attachments/Resentments

Judgements

Expectations


Our mind is what creates pain and suffering…


So let me ask you a question…


How would you feel if you had no comparisons, no attachments or resentments, no judgements and no expectations…?


Most people say something along the lines of - Peaceful, blissful or happy.


Along my pathway to figuring all of this out I had many painful days of suffering…


I had tried meditation in the past but never found it worked, my mind was always busy…


But one day, after months of immense anxiety and depression, I sat in a seat I have in my room, I closed my eyes and I listened to the voice inside my head for 4 straight hours…


After 3 hours the most profound thing occurred…


All of the mental noise disappeared and I was left with nothing but the sound of silence…


For the first time in my life, everything was quiet internally and I found myself sitting in the most serene feeling of inner peace…


For the first time I had found my centre point, a place I could go to get away from all the noise in my mind, all of the comparisons, the expectations, the stories and the corresponding emotions…


Every emotion we feel is the byproduct of a thought that we have (CAJE)...


If we want to experience true presence we have to silence the mind…


I’ve built a full system for discovering the limiting mental perceptions and then remedying them to achieve a state of total inner peace and presence.


I will write about it in greater detail one day but right now I want to share with you the fundamental tools and tactics that I used to permanently remove the effects of depression from my life..


The Tools & Tactics


First I want to quickly point out the difference between what I refer to as tools and tactics…


A tool is something you go physically through, like a process or a framework…


A tactic is a little trick or concept you can be mindful of and utilise as you go through the processes and framework…


For example, meditation is a tool, but focusing on your breathing is a tactic used to focus your mind whilst you are meditating…


I hope that makes sense…


Because depression is a byproduct of unmet expectations which includes comparisons, and expectations are beliefs you have about how things should be, it is critical to discover the expectations and beliefs that lie at the core of the depression…


These beliefs and expectations will show up in the form of thoughts and emotions…


Thoughts Feelings


“Why did this happen to me?” = Frustration/Anger


“What’s wrong with me?” = Shame/Sadness


“They shouldn’t have done that!” = Frustration/Anger


“I always fail…” = Shame/Sadness


So we MUST above all else take control of our mind and correlating emotions.


This involves 3 core pillars and then a few different tools or tactics within each pillar…


  1. The Ability to Witness the Mind

  2. The Ability to Control Focus

  3. The Ability to Shift Beliefs & Perspectives


Let’s dive in…


The Ability to Witness the Mind


Witnessing the mind is what allows you to separate yourself from your mind. If you believe in your thoughts then your mind will run you, but if you can separate yourself from your thoughts then you can control your mind..


There are two tools and one tactic that you can use to start gaining control over your mind and I suggest using both…


The first tool is Meditation, the second tool is Journaling and the tactic is understanding Language Patterns.


1) Meditation


I know this word gets thrown around a lot so let me simplify what I mean by meditation.


Meditation means to become familiar with, which given the context means to become familiar with yourself, your thoughts and the different aspects that make up the entire you.


People don’t really know themselves, they think they do but they have no idea what’s really driving them at an unconscious level.


Meditation is listening to the voices in your head without attaching to them. The moment you can do that you become free to be your authentic self.


When you are emotional, including depressed, you are associated with the voice in your head as you. As long as you associate with the voice in your head then you will never be your authentic self.


It is easier said than done but like anything practice makes perfect if you want to break free from your destructive thoughts.


I believe with unquestionable certainty that this is the greatest skill a person can learn if they want to live an empowered life.


I’m currently building a Meditation Mastery program which will be complete in a few months time so stay tuned for that.


2) Journaling


Journaling is similar to meditation because it allows you to track your thoughts and discover all the different parts of your personality. It allows you to understand yourself at a deeper level, your emotions, your thoughts and what’s driving you…


Most people don’t know how to journal properly and a question I receive a lot is “How do you journal?”


At the absolute beginner level just start with these three questions…


  1. What am I feeling?

  2. What thoughts are causing these feelings?

  3. How can I look at things differently or what is a new perspective that will make me feel better about things?


When you journal the key is to just write everything, it doesn’t need to make sense.


You can start with “I feel angry and I don’t know why…”


Then you can even write your own mental narration like “actually I think it’s because my phone charger won't connect properly… actually, it is that a bit but it’s also that my parents are coming to visit this weekend and I can’t be bothered dealing with their shit…”


You get my point, just write everything that goes through your head and then once it’s all out you can look for patterns and parts.


Patterns of thinking are loops that keep going around in circles and parts of yourself are really just all of your different personalities which will usually be paired with your different emotions (angry part, sad part, frustrated part, lonely part etc…).


Then once you’ve discovered these patterns and parts you need to reframe your perspectives so that those parts are no longer in control and you can break the patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving…


This process lies at the core of breaking all habits and addictions…


If you want to learn more about journaling you can learn more about my Journaling Mastery Course through the link below.



3) Language Patterns


Ok so this is a little tactic as a pose to a tool that will support you in recognising your limitations, keeping a positive perspective and also within your journaling and meditations, I’ll keep it short and sweet.


  1. Never ever say the words “I have depression”. Never attach a permanent label to a temporary experience. Instead say the words “I am experiencing depression”.


To make it even more powerful you can say “I am temporarily experiencing the feeling of depression”.


  1. Use affirmations. If you don’t take control of your mind then you’ll be controlled by it. Affirmations work to affirm or ‘make firm’ different thoughts.


If you feel like crap affirmations seem like a waste of time but they aren’t. Just keep repeating them until you remove the intensity of the shitty feeling you’re feeling.


Here are some affirmations that I used during my hard times. Try these out but also come up with some of your own.


“This is just an illusion, it’s not real, when my emotions change I’ll see things differently”


“There is a lesson in this pain and I am grateful for the lesson”


“I am better than this, this is just a temporary emotional state”


“Thank you God for the lesson”


“I love you John, I love you John, I love you John”


  1. Watch out for anytime you say the word “should” or “shouldn’t” because those words point directly to an expectation.

  2. Watch out for absolute language. When people say “always” or “never” they are in a highly polarised or emotional state. Instead use words like “sometimes” or “often”.


For example…


“Nothing ever works out for me” -> “Sometimes things don’t go my way”


“Why does this always happen to me” -> “This happens to me quite often


Language mastery is a subject on its own but these tactics will help you immensely so get started with them immediately.


The Ability to Control Focus


We feel what we focus on…


If you focus on what’s gone wrong you’ll feel like crap…


If you focus on what’s gone right you’ll feel great…


Mastering the art of focus is a superpower, and I mean that literally.


Overcoming depression was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life…


Fuck it’s awful…


All of my dreams felt so far away…


But the reason was because my expectations were so high and when they weren’t met I became frustrated and ungrateful…


I lost sight of everything good in my life…


The biggest wake up call occurred when a tumour started growing underneath my right pec muscle…


It scared me to my core…


I knew enough about health and wellbeing to know what it was without going to see a dr…


I had been through all of Dr Joe Dispenza's training right up to the advanced level and I had energetically healed myself many times in the past (even removing scars from my body overnight; but that’s a story for another time).


But I knew that this tumour was the result of incessant negativity and lack of appreciation…


I had become so sour towards life that the Universe or God said “Ok then, if you don’t appreciate it then you don’t really want it”...


It scared me so much that my life changed forever that day…


It switched out of a victim mentality in record time, but it wasn’t easy…


Some days I literally just had to survive and to do that I focused on something that would make me happy in that present moment…


I made my personal happiness the priority above all else…


I remember being so unhappy that I would ask myself the most simple question…


“What could I do or focus on right now to be happy?”


Then I would simply do that.


NOTE: This is not the same as short term gratification. Short term gratification is a hit of dopamine that you get to distract yourself from your problems. When I asked myself the question I did it with the intent of the answer being something that would regulate my nervous system, not stimulate it more.


Sometimes the answer would be to read a book (I love reading), to go to the gym, meet with a friend or to walk along the beach.


Even though my mind would want to go back to everything that was going wrong or everything that I had to do to ‘change or fix my life’, I knew that if I focused on those things the depression and tumour would get worse…


If I focused on my past failures I’d feel worthless…


If I focused on my past success I’d feel worthy…


If I focused on what was missing I’d feel frustrated…


If I focused on what I had I’d feel happy…


What you focus on dictates how you feel…


My mind always wanted to default to the negatives so some days I had to wrestle with my mind and just force myself to focus on what was good or what would make me happy…


Those were the hardest days because the default was negativity, but those were also the days where I started to regain control of my mind and my life…


When we shift our focus to something great we feel better…


With depression we keep focusing on what’s wrong or what’s missing BUT the problem is that the list of problems or things that are missing never ends.


During my depression I was down to earning $500 a month and every day I felt completely broke and worthless…


This was a core area of ingratitude…


But one day during a meditation I had a realisation…


My income had dropped from $20k a month to $12k a month, then to $5k a month, then $4k, then $3k etc…


But even when I was doing $5k a month I was still unhappy…


When I was doing $12k a month I was still unhappy…


Even when making $20k a month I still wasn’t happy…


I realised that I was never actually satisfied or grateful for my income no matter how high it was…


That created another perspective shift in me…


I realised that $500 was better than nothing, and that if I wasn’t happy with $500 the universe would just keep dropping my income until I became more appreciative…


I realised that if I wasn’t truly happy with what I had then why would the universe give me more to be ungrateful for…


I started changing my focus to appreciating the $500…


Within two months of shifting my focus my income actually skyrocketed…


This happened because my energy had changed from heavy and depressed to light and appreciative…


That shift in energy opened up the creative parts of my mind and instead of being stressed about having no money I was creative and started solving higher level problems that demanded more income from my clients…


When you change what you focus on you change how you feel, and when you change how you feel you change how you act…


Some key things you can choose to focus on which I call ‘The Big 3’…


  1. Past: Your past successes and your past acts of kindness

  2. Present: Everything you have in your life; this is the best one, because as long as you’re breathing there is something to be grateful for.

  3. Future: What’s possible in the future; even if that is one minute in the future, focus on the fact that you can always move towards something better (even if that means looking forward to having a cup of tea or going for a walk)


You can also ask yourself, “What could I focus on in this very moment to elevate the way I feel?” or “what could I do right now that would be enjoyable?”...


If you consistently and repetitively reorientate your focus you’ll break the old pattern of negativity and rebuild a new pattern of positivity.


Keep reorienting your focus over and over again until you walk around in a state of appreciation for larger and larger portions of your day.


The Ability to Shift Beliefs & Perceptions


Until the underlying belief and perception (comparison / attachment / resentment / judgement / expectation) is changed everything else will just be a band aid effect.


Shifting your focus will save you in the short term and be a valuable asset across all areas of life in the long term, but it won’t fix the underlying issue and your mind will always get pulled back to the old perceptions and emotions…


It’s like trying to drive a car forward with the handbrake on…


To create permanent change and release the handbrake you MUST discover the root cause of a pattern which isn’t easy because it’s unconscious. Then once you have revealed the root cause you can use specific techniques to create the necessary shifts in perception.


NOTE: You can do this across all areas of life. If you want to create more wealth, if you want better health, if you want better friends etc, everything is a result of your beliefs…


Shifting beliefs and perceptions is the work I do when I’m working with clients in my Mastermind Group and my private clients because it’s a higher level and more technical skill, this also involves healing “wounds” from the past which everyone has whether they know it or not...


Meditation and journaling is necessary to create the space and when practiced at a high enough level can be used to transform belief and perceptions but to do that you need to understand the depths of psychology and healing.


For the sake of this article and simplicity for you to implement, you can use the journaling prompts to make a start with not only uncovering but also rectifying your limiting perceptions when you work through question number 3; “How can I look at things differently or what is a new perspective that will make me feel better about things?”.


Another word for this is ‘Reframing’ which is about looking at the same problem through a different frame which then allows you to feel different about the thing you’re looking at or experiencing.


Reframing can absolutely help, however from experience most people struggle to get to the core of the issue so sometimes it is a more superficial and less potent change…


When your perceptions shift you’ve created new neural pathways in your mind and you have literally become a new person. This is how real change and transformation happens.


If you really want to master your beliefs and perceptions then I highly recommend going through the Journaling Mastery program which goes deeper into shifting perceptions, and if you want to fully understand every aspect of perceptions and emotions then I have a Perceptions & Emotional Mastery program. It's extremely comprehensive and I only recommend it for people serious about life mastery.


To learn more about Perceptions & Emotional Mastery send me an email at team@johntempleton.io because it is an expensive course and we should talk on the phone before you take part in it.


My Resurgence


Healing isn’t linear, there are ups and downs…


And the goal isn’t to never have downs (that’s impossible), the goal is to have less destructive downs…


In fact, a big part of overcoming depression is learning that the downs are actually feedback for you to try a different approach in the future…


The downs aren’t a bad thing, they’re feedback…


This is how we learn what doesn’t work and adjust our thoughts, actions and behaviours in the future to see if something does work…


Over time I began to understand myself on a far deeper level than ever before…’


By removing my mental CAJE I became far more calm, grounded and peaceful because I wasn’t so judgemental and I wasn’t attached to things being a certain way…


I became so in tune with my body that I’d recognise even the slightest emotional shift and then get myself back into centre through meditation…


Then from there I could objectively shift my beliefs and perceptions…


I wish I knew what I’m telling you now when I was going through my depression…


Even with all of my knowledge, qualifications and certificates in practical psychology, neuro linguistic programming and hypnotherapy it took me years to figure this shit out…


I don’t want you to go through that…


The people I turned to for help had never experienced it and so they couldn’t really help me…


Sitting here now I am so totally grateful for the entire experience, it has changed my life in so many positive ways…


I hope this article helps you to find inner peace and a new lease on life that is free from the darkness and heaviness that I know plagues a lot of people.


Become More, Live More, Give More.


John



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BIO & SOCIAL MEDIA


I am here to live the best life possible and help others do the same.


🏆Guinness World Record Holder

⚔️Trained Special Forces, Celebrities & Olympians

📘Published Author

🎙️Podcast Host

💰Macro Investor


Spoken on stages alongside Tony Robbins, Robin Sharma, Dr John Demartini, Les Brown and many other industry leaders…


If you want life mastery you’re in the right place.



If you have any questions at all please email me at team@johntempleton.io .


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