Are you feeling lucky? is a phrase often repeated from an old Clint Eastwood movie when Clint's Dirty Harry character is facing down a punk with a gun. Of course, we all know that Harry's faster on the draw than the punk, but the phrase makes us laugh anyway.
Research suggests that if we think we're lucky, we are. If we think we can outgun Dirty Harry, there's a good chance that we really can. Not that I'd recommend that you try - discretion, after all, is the better part of valor!
But what does this idea of feeling lucky mean to people who're fighting depression? Well, I firmly believe that 'Attitude is Everything' and that you can, with practice, bring your mood up just by believing that you can and by believing that there are good things waiting out there in the world. for you.
I've lost track of the number of clients who have told me: " I would like to do such and such, but I don't even think about starting because I know I couldn't do it/would fail/wouldn't be good enough."
One client I worked with did, with support, enroll in an art course. The constant positive feedback she received from fellow students and instructors kept her getting up in the mornings and showing up in class, despite her ongoing depression. She showed her work in a gallery, sold several paintings, and has never been happier in her life. To me, as her counsellor, the most positive thing wasn't her sales - though I was delighted for her - it was the fact that, although the depression still slunk around the edges of her consciousness from time to time, she had learned to believe in herself and her own strength and competence to deal with the dark days and to create her own good days.
According to researcher Mala Young at UCLA, in an article in Psychology Today, luck is not a matter of ceding control over your life to the Universe. People who believe luck works in their favor are motivated to try challenging tasks and persist at them.
In the same article, Richard Wiseman of Hertfordshire University in the UK, suggests increasing your 'luck' by being more open to new opportunities. This can be done by changing routines, meeting new people, walking a different route to work. If something bad happens to you, consider how much worse it could have been, put it inperspective and asee what can be learned from it. Wiseman also suggests being more pro-active in following your instincts, and says taking some quiet time to meditate can quiet the noise around you and help you understand these 'hunches'.
Positive expectations are often self-fulfilling because they increase your motivation to act.
Often trouble comes with a gift in its hands - an opportunity to learn.
There's an old joke about the man who prays every night to win the lottery. This goes on for months with never a win in sight, so eventually he loses his cool and yells at God: "Why won't You answer my prayers? I've asked You time and time again...."
And God replied: "If you want to win the lottery, why haven't you bought a ticket?"
You see, no matter what you want, you have to buy the ticket. You have to believe that you have a chance, and be prepared to keep on believing until your number comes up. You have to do the legwork, be prepared to work hard at your dreams, accept and learn from your failures and know that every time you try, you're in with a chance, and the more you fail, the more you learn and the greater your chances of success.
Don't let depression control you. Take your own life in your hands and imbue it with good things that make you want to get up in the morning and make you believe in yourself. Smile, even though you don't feel like it right now. Just exercising those facial muscles will enhance the way you feel. Believe in yourself. Make your own luck!