Depression can be crushing and it can be subtle. Some people experience prolonged sadness and apathy that progresses into full-blown depression that can stall and destroy a life. However, there are several ways one can avoid depression and battle feelings of constant sadness, boredom, anger, and apathy.
Exercising is, for many, a difficult habit to get into, especially when depression sets in. But exercise is one of the best ways to resist depression because the stimulation releases happy endorphins in the brain and creates a sense of well-being. If you are having difficulty getting into an exercise regimen, consider exercising with a friend or getting a personal trainer. A trainer will hold you accountable when you miss sessions, and you and your friend can hold each other to an exercise agreement, mutually.
Another great way to start feeling better is to change one’s diet. Many who suffer from depression ignore their health and their diet, among other things, but healthy eating also stimulates the release of happy feelings in the brain. Consider removing as many processed foods as possible from your diet, supplementing your new diet with a multivitamin, and seeing a health consultant.
Your happy file
A “Happy File” can be a tangible folder or box or a file on your computer where you put anything that makes you smile or induces a good memory. Create a happy file with funny pictures, entertaining quotes, hilarious news stories, comics, etc that make you laugh. You may want to make a tangible folder or keep a notebook you can carry around with you, as well as a file on the computer. A “Happy File” you can take with you can really help lift your mood when you are away from the desk and unhappiness sets in.
Spirituality and faith
If you are already a spiritual person, consider delving into a particular aspect of your faith that you can incorporate into your daily life. Meditate, pray, attend a service or study group. If you are not religious or spiritual, consider doing a little research into Buddhism, Taoism, and Zen practices. These things all make the brain think, and keeping your brain active is another way to keep it happy. A lazy brain creates a lazy body and that can inhibit your overall happiness.
Puzzles and brain-teasers
Along with considering a spiritual exploration, keep the brain active with games like cryptograms, Sudoku, cross-word puzzles, and brain teasers. These can easily be done just about anywhere and keep your brain thinking.
Explore your inner child and things you loved to do as a kid. Color in a coloring book, draw with chalk, see an animated movie, fly a kite, eat ice cream before dinner. Children who play are often the happiest people, so explore your inner child. Find a friend and play, or enjoy some kid-time by yourself.
One of the most difficult obstacles to overcome is allowing yourself to be happy. Many people begin to feel sad and merely accept the idea that this is now their state of being. Bad things happen, things ruin our day and get us down. But these are just moments in time. Stand aside and let them happen and then allow yourself to move on. It is important to acknowledge the spilled milk, the parking ticket, the break up because these are important in your life. These are moments to learn from. However, it is also important to accept that it happened, and then allow happy things to make you happy. Something to help with this is keeping a journal or having a person you can talk to about these moments that make you sad and who can help you see the good moments that invariably surround the bad.
The most important thing to remember is that happiness and relative peace are possible. Keep your expectations realistic and allow yourself to be happy.