Keep Depression at Bay: 8 Ways to Cheer Yourself Up

Sad moments can creep up on you when you least expect it. You were feeling ecstatic a moment ago but now you are not in the mood to celebrate. We all experience this feeling.

Sometimes we just get overwhelmed when the pressures of life weigh us down. You wake up and you don’t feel like doing anything. Making breakfast is a chore and you are looking forward to the moment you will sit down and just be. You can’t seem to shake the feeling so you allow yourself to wallow in sadness. All attempts from people to raise your spirits are met with anger and irritation. “Why won’t everyone just mind their own business”, you say.

There are many articles online saying that you should not try to get out of your slump; rather, embrace the slump as a reality and it will go away. While this course of action might sound deep, there is also a risk that your mini mood slump can quickly evolve into depression. Now you have a big problem!

Perhaps a few of these methods below can assist you to get back the joy in your life:

Happy woman with headphones

  1. Listen to Music… and Sing

There is probably a song for everything. Think up any topic and a musician has probably sung about it. When you are sad, you’ll naturally gravitate toward sad songs. It seems that this guy or that girl gets you. That musician understands exactly how you are feeling. Perhaps it would be best to listen to uplifting music. Singing will make your mind active and responsive to mood changes. If you really let the music sink in, you might even start dancing. It’s a form of exercise and we’ve already seen how exercise can be great for your body.

  1. Get perspective

As Dan Gilbert says in his ‘Surprising Science of Happiness’ Ted Talks speech, human beings tend to overestimate the pain or pleasure they will experience. Thus, it is important to get some perspective as to why you are feeling sad. Try to get an objective view of the situation you are in rather than a subjective one. By doing this, you remove the emotions that cloud your judgement as to what really happened to you to make you feel sad.

For example, sometimes people can hurt us unintentionally. Letting that pain fester in your mind can keep you from focussing on the fact that the person who hurt you loves you deeply and they would never do anything intentionally to bring pain to your life.

You have to find out exactly what it is that is making you feel down. Normally, when people are sad, they tend to make blanket statements that their whole life sucks. In truth, before getting into a negative mindset, these people were thinking their lives were amazing. What changed? Focus on what’s wrong and fix it.

  1. Exercise

Working out brings more benefits to your life beyond the physical. As you know, exercising makes the body release endorphins, which are neurotransmitters from the brain that make you feel good. If you want to feel good, exercise.

  1. Share your problem with someone you trust

A problem shared is a problem half-solved. Confidants can help you make sense of issues and find solutions for them. You have to surround yourself with people who will give you sound counsel. This will get you on your way to resolving your problems and being happy again.

Trusted friends can also give you the support you need if you require a shoulder to cry on. Another interesting thing is that if you manage to get a couple of hugs, your mood instantly changes. Try it.

  1. Find a source of laughter

You’ve heard this before, but laughter is the best medicine. To get out of your bad mood, you need to find someone who can make you laugh or watch a comedy show. Laughing makes you feel alive and grateful for your life. It will make you feel happy

  1. Remember that you are what you eat

There are a couple of foods and snacks that should be included in your diet, which act as mood boosters. Top on the list is fish, which gives omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 raises the levels of a brain chemical called serotonin, which boosts our mood. Another booster is chocolate. Chocolate not only tastes good, but also acts as an anti-oxidant and as a serotonin stimulator. You need to eat the chocolate in moderation though, as eating a lot of it will leave you feeling queasy and ruin your mood even further.

  1. Volunteer to help other people

It is said that, “If you think you have problems, just visit the hospital and see for yourself what other people are going through”. This is just a way of bringing perspective to your problems. Volunteering has a two-fold effect of not only helping other people, but also giving you a sense of gratitude and joy. There are so many people going through a lot of issues that sometimes you just need to ask them whether they are okay. We all need each other. We can lift each other’s spirit by simply being kind, caring and generous.

  1. Get some fresh air by going for a walk

Going outside can do wonders for you. It has been theorized that staying indoors causes anxiety and depression because the body is not getting enough Vitamin D from the sun nor taking in fresh air into the lungs. Walking is a form of exercise as well and it allows you to clear your mind as you analyze everything that is making you feel sad. Being outside is soothing and it rejuvenates your spirit as you take in deep breaths.

sunny day

Take Action

All these methods have one thing in common; they all involve taking action. People focus too much on their feelings and talk about not “feeling like doing anything”. In truth, feelings follow actions and not the other way around. Notice how when you don’t feel like doing something but you do it anyway, you stop ‘feeling’ like it was a bad thing. It’s all about taking action.

Wherever you are right now, you can choose to be happy. Life will throw all kinds of problems your way. In times like these, you will need to summon your willpower and take action to be happy again. Realize that happiness is a state of being and embody happiness.

You can choose to be happy right now. Don’t wait for the sadness to overwhelm you.

Advertisements

R U OK? Mental Health Day

Thursday, September 11, 2014 is going to be the R U OK? day. It is a day whereby people make a commitment to ask other people “Are you okay?”. That’s not all though. The people asking the question must follow through and dig deeper to unearth how someone is really feeling about their life, health, family, work and anything that is important to their well-being.

1534831_773104519385141_491415825_o

Mentalist Series actor and Ambassador for the RU OK? Campaign, Simon Baker, talks briefly here about connecting with people to find out whether they are doing well and feeling optimistic about their lives. There are people who keep their problems well-hidden that even those who are close to them cannot suspect that something is amiss. Many people never want to appear weak by asking for help when their problems overwhelm them. This is where you come in.

Not all of us were born to be detectives but there are moments when you can sense that a person is not happy with their life. It doesn’t have to be a family member or a close friend. It could be someone you’ve just met. Organizations such as ruok.org.au are trying to inspire conversations; encouraging people to reach out to others and try to help them get out of a mental funk state.

Each one of us is going through various trials in our lives. There are those who can cope well despite their circumstances. There are others who, due to a mental health problem, are unable to resolve the issues in their lives and start spiralling out of control. Strange behaviours and addictions may rise to the fore. Then sooner or later, news trickles in that a person you knew has committed suicide. Could you have helped? Maybe. The problem is…you never tried.

This video shows what kind of issues we all have in our lives. There are many people who feel alone or neglected. Some of the time, a simple word or a smile from a stranger goes a long way in raising their spirits. Humans can be insensitive to the plight of others and never really understand what others may be going through. Mentally ill people can fail to find the motivation that spurs us on everyday. It’s not that they are weak or don’t care. There are other forces (such as depression) making them feel unworthy of living.

It’s always a good day to do something nice for other people. Reach out to those who don’t seem okay. Start a conversation that goes beyond “I’m fine”. Relate your own worries and troubles and the steps you took to overcome them. This might help the object of your queries to come out of their shell  and share with you anything that might be draining on their spirits and their will to live.

You have the power to help others today. Go beyond “R U OK?