We all have ups and downs. That’s life. But when we are down, the time it takes to get back up, and the depth of the down are usually in your hands. Here are some tools to not let life get you down too far, and to help you get back on your game again.
1. Get distracted. Depression is almost always caused by excessive thoughts on negativity. We forget that life is basically okay. When you are helping a friend move, playing scrabble, or watching a movie, it’s harder to be depressed because your mind is switched from something bad to something neutral. And that temporary break is sometimes all you need to get your resources back.
2. Get moving. Any kind of strenuous activity is action and purposeful. Depression is the opposite; it makes us want to crawl under the covers or sleep. When your body is doing something active it is fighting the urge to be down. Your mood has to change to fit what your body is doing.
3. Talk to a friend. Studies link suicide with isolation. A friend is someone to vent to, someone to help you look on the brighter side of things, or someone who can give you some advice how to deal with the presenting problem. Just make sure to be a good friend and be willing to listen when it is your friend’s turn to be depressed.
4. Eat, drink and be merry. No not alcohol. But often our body is malnourished or dehydrated and that is all it takes sometimes to put is in a bad mood. Make sure you’re taking care of your body with a well balanced meal and some water before you address your mood. That might be all you need.
5. Don’t look at the glass. The proverbial glass half empty/glass half full question is a mistake. You may be a pessimist to look at it as half empty and an optimist to look at it as half full. But both people are allowing the glass to define what they have inside it. Maybe the amount of liquid inside is exactly what you want. In that case the size of the glass is irrelevant. Your neighbor’s car should not be the measure for the price tag on your car. Be objective.
6. Do something you know makes you happy. Sometimes we wallow in depression instead of doing something about it. We all have things we enjoy. If you like to dance, dance. If you like to visit the elderly, visit the elderly. Whatever gives a lift, do it.
7. Be good. We often forget how being good makes us feel. It is human nature to feel good when we do good. Give a homeless person a bottle of orange juice. Offer to take an elderly neighbor to the store. Play checkers with a seven-year-old.
8. Read something wise. Wisdom is the source of true happiness on the deepest level. When we understand what life is all about, calmness envelops us and worries and problems diminish.
9. Be spiritual. Spirituality is a vitamin. It is something we all need. It doesn’t matter what form or flavor of spirituality you access. The soul is an infinite source of joy. Sometimes it is gnawing at you for attention.
10. Search for the silver lining. Yes, it sounds cliché. But it’s true. Every single problem or challenge has some benefit for you. As long as you have to deal with it anyway, at least take not of the positive thing hiding within it. If you look for it, you will find it.