Breaking the depression cycle. My positive affirmation and empowerment list.


This was and is more for myself, but 1 in 4 people have depression or other mental health issues at some point in their life or, for some, throughout there life, so perhaps you may find it useful too, whether as a clinician, as someone with mental health problems, or with someone close that struggles.

Photo of me, Paul, taken in 2002 I am sorting out my life and clearing out all the junk – actual, physical and emotional – and moving on. After an epiphany yesterday I am a better and much stronger person and this time I won’t relapse (addenda: I did :/ ) . It will take time, effort and energy but I know now that I can. I’ve one or two people and authors to thank for that, but I guess you know who you are.

Back in the day

After typing this lot up I should note they were probably written in my youth when I was full of ideas and energy and running my own companies.

More importantly – MUCH more importantly – my long slide into chronic depression and ill-health started only when I let personal issues control my life. When I stopped applying the rules and concepts below, when I stopped believing in myself. When I forgot who I am and what I can do, if only I’d try.

Now it’s time to stop being the victim, dust myself off and apply all those and many similar rules and concepts to my life and get back on my path. If you are in a similar mess I offer this advice:

“Stop blaming others, look hard at yourself and see how much is your own doing, how much your own actions or lack of actions are to blame. If you are in a mess, even allowing for bad luck, it’s because you let yourself get in that state. It’s up to you to get yourself out the hole you’ve dug yourself into.”

ME? I’ve been digging my hole for over 25 years, I need a damned long ladder to get out of it and a JCB to fill it so I never fall in again – but I will because I have too!

Right, the following are notes from way, way back, probably taken from a score of books and authors. Apologies in advice for the lack of acknowledgements, normally I would cite the quotations and extracts and link the books in question at the end.

Quotes and rules to live by

“Think ‘What is best for me?’ Then act”

REALLY successful people ask: “Am I operating at MY full potential? Am I doing as good a job as I can?”

“The best way to get ahead in business is to chart your own course and stick to it.”


“When we do things to please ourselves rather than to prove we’re ‘better’ than somebody else, then we’re mature”

“Success orientated people compete with their own potential”

“Remember, the real professional always competes with himself”

“Go after big customers, big opportunities, big success”

“Thinking DOES make it so”

“Think ‘I feel good’ and you do”

“One secret of feeling better is to make someone else feel better”
(without seeking a reward for it)

“The air of ‘I feel great, really great’ wins friends and makes those around you feel warmer and more responsive”

“Thinking rich leads to riches”

“Prosperity begins with a prosperous attitude”

“When you want something but don’t have the money, substitute something else instead, and double your effort to have even more fun”

“If you are rich in desire, rich in spirit and rich in ambition then other riches will automatically come to you”



“Instead of wishing you had more money, instead of feeling sorry for yourself, buckle down, apply yourself and set about making money”

“Create an air of personal prosperity, of being wanted, and your popularity increases”

“The most popular person (or business etc) is the one who is busiest”

“Prosperity begets prosperity”

“Be determined not to let what you haven’t got stop you”

“Look at yourself as the person you are going to be in a few short years”

“It isn’t what one has that’s important, rather it’s how much one is planning to get that counts”

“Think ‘Things will get better’ and they do”

“Security is not the goal of life. The more security you want the less of everything else you are going to have”

“The difference between a top-notch professional and a good amateur is often very, very little”

Avoid (negative) phrases like ‘I hate…’, ‘They’re stupid’, and ‘(s)he’s no good’

“Go slow before you take a definite stand on a debatable subject”


Weekly improvement plan:
Divide job into 4 elements (ie customer, employee, merchantise and promotion.)
Make notes, jot down ideas on how to improve your business (or job or life or…)
‘What can I do to attract more customers?’
‘How can I develop regular, loyal customers?’
‘How can I do a better job?’
(Obviously you can re-word this into other areas of your life, like getting out of debt, making new friends, finding a job, overcoming a disability)

“It isn’t so much what you dream* when you start that matters, it’s what you learn and put to use after you open your dream* that counts most.”
*(Can’t read my writing, but the essence is true. It’s not the journey from a to b that matters, it’s what you learn as you travel)

“Big success continually calls for people who continually set higher standards for themselves and others. People who are searching for ways to improve efficiency, to get more output at lower cost, do more with less effort. Top success is reserved for ‘I CAN DO IT BETTER’ kind of people”

(Ask yourself) “How can I increase my personal efficiency?”

“Big achievement comes from controlled thinking”

“Discover the fact that money is really plentiful and you can have any amount you really want”

“But my trouble was I dreamed and that’s all”
(i.e. Having the dream won’t make it happen, you have to act)

“Successful people are those who are doing what they really want to do – and are doing it on purpose with maximum effort”

“Define your purpose – define what you really want to do”

“The magic lesson for making money is not to make money your primary goal”

“Put your purpose first and you’re headed towards riches”

“Put service first and money takes care of itself”

“Draw up a will for living”

“You can spend a lifetime thinking of it; you need the strength to go and get what you want”
(from Absolute Beginners by The Jam or, more, specifically, Paul Weller, who wrote both the lyrics and music.)

“People who follow the two basic commandments – close the escape (excuse) hatch and act 100% responsible – do win the big jobs, the money, the beautiful women* and all that is good”
(Or men, obviously.)

The next is sage advice, wish I’d followed it after I wrote it!!!
‘I can always return to mother’
‘I can always go back to my old job’
‘I can avoid contact with the world’
These are the stepping-stones to mental disaster
*(D’oh! That was my failing, or one of them. Should have listened to my own advice, because my mental disaster was long, painful and almost fatal).

“You must adopt the ‘captain of your own fate’ attitude”

1) Define exactly the job you want done
2) Don’t leave any room for doubt
3) Be sure all necessary preparations have been made
4) Impress your people (yourself) with immense importance of what they (you) are to do
5) Insist, insist, insist on victory.

“If people would just learn it only makes them look weak and small to pass the buck maybe they would quit”
(i.e. Face up to your mistakes and take responsibility)

“When you totally commit yourself to a project you harness all your own psychological energy.”

“Be 100% committed if you want to win”

“I have seen the disgusting miracle of a young man with an IQ of 140 drift along in a very mediocre job while all around him our society cries for talented men to move up and beyond.”
(That one is cruelly ironic as my own IQ is far higher! Just remember people, I wrote this as a warning – and failed to heed it. It’s not enough to be smart, you need to truly believe in yourself.)

“It is a law that genuine wisdom is revealed to us in solitude.”

“Believe, absolutely, completely believe, that all things work together for good”

“Thinking DOES make is so”
(Reckon I put that in above too. Important one too. There is a similar, famous quote that says, “Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, you are right” If you see yourself as a failure, if you allow others to make you feel you are worthless you will quickly come to believe these destructive thoughts and words. Conversely, if you continually get praised, if you continually think happy thoughts regardless of the situation then your life will improve in leaps and bounds. I know because I’ve been at the peak – and the bottomless pit of both!)

“When you think you’ll succeed your mind amazingly begins to find the solution for success”

“The more security we have the less psychological freedom we can enjoy”

“Be yourself”

“Man know thyself”

“Have the courage to try, dare to take the chance”

“Make a firm decision to control your environment and not let it control you”

“You’re not a slave to your husband, instead you’re a slave to your imagined reaction to your parents”
Feel the Fear and do it anyway by Susan Jeffers
(Not a clue why I wrote that at the time, but having just read “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway” by Susan Jeffers I completely get it. We trap ourselves in bad situations because of our fear of what others
might say or think, of what might happen if… If this is you, in whatever your situation, get the book, you’ll thank yourself if you have the courage to apply its teaching.)

Developing persuasive power. President Johnson’s 10 notes for motivating people:
1) Learn to remember names
2) Be a comfortable person
3) Be relaxed and easy-going
4) Don’t be egotistical, don’t be a know-it-all
5) Be interesting to people
6) Get the scratchy elements (bad habits) out of your system – conscious and unconscious
7) Heal all current and past grievances
8) Practice liking the people with you and learn to do so genuinely
9) Never miss a chance to congratulate or to sympathize with someone
10) Give spirited strength to people

(Not sure where the following list is from but it’s good to live by)
1) Show your human side, it counts most
2) Give – and when it’s not expected
3) Make people you want to influence feel needed
4) Equate yourself with people at their level
5) Keep secrets secret

“Develop an ‘I like you’ attitude to everyone”



(i.e. Agonising over what might happen achieves nothing, get on with it and see.)

“Ignore pettiness in other people”
(i.e. Don’t stoop to their level, they’ll only drag you down, you can be better than that. Walk away.)

“Don’t let the critics push you off course”

(And related to that is this quote I recently saw:)
“A critic is a man who knows the way but can’t drive the car” ~ Tyrian

“But I couldn’t compromise with what i felt was right. I stuck with the policy and it has paid off”

“Never compromise with what you feel is right”

“When you are wrong, admit it”

(Not sure where I got this list from either, but it’s going in)
1) You win when you refuse to find petty people.
2) Learn to laugh at criticism
(As in don’t take it to heart, learn from it but don’t let it get you down)
3) Make your enemy your friend
(Again, Susan Jeffers’ book will give you a great insight into that simple sentence)
4) Learn the ‘victory sentence’ : “I will ignore pettiness in other people”
5) Be glad if you’re criticized – it proves you are getting somewhere
6) When you are wrong admit it. Don’t try to lie out of a situation.

“Chances of success in any project are increased when we deliberately cut off our avenues of psychological escape”

“Only when we accept personal responsibility for failure do we begin to see ways for improvements”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: