When we are depressed due to stress, being overburdened or some routine, it is difficult not to succumb to the feeling of desperation. There are things that call for a special approach, but if it’s everyday stress factors that make you feel down in the dumps, you can try the tips featured in this article to counter their effects.
Image Credit: shutterstock.com / Yuganov Konstantin
You won’t find here the omnipresent advice to fake it till you make it. Pretending to be happy and positive is not always a good option – although it may prove to be a good approach in some cases. What can be of much more use is reevaluating your attitude to what is happening around you. This is what these tips are based on.
Tip #1. Practice gratitude
No, really – most of us are so obsessed with pampering our ego, if only unknowingly, that we find it difficult to be grateful for things others do for us. Many people see red when the coffee they have just been given is not hot enough – how could they have neglected your wishes, given your – ahem – importance? The very fact that we pay for something gives us a reason to feel like the center of the universe. But all this anger has a detrimental effect on both you and others. What if we got a different perspective on it? Look at how clean the floors in your office are. Your office cleaner could see her job as something unimportant and put minimal efforts into making the office environment a cozier place, but she prefers to make it so clean that you can wear white socks in there. And it is simply because she takes her job seriously – for the same money as other cleaners, who are not that careful. Be grateful for her diligence and care. Learn to see such details, however minor they may seem at first.
And it’s not only about the services we pay for. Many ordinary things are taken for granted, while we should be grateful for them. The very fact that you have woken up today means you have been given one more chance. You still have a lot – even if you are snowed under work, have to face up to challenges, are disabled, etc. We forgot how to appreciate the world we live in, the nature and people that surround us. It’s time we re-acquired this ability.
Being grateful makes you feel happier and turns you into a better person. If you find it difficult to see reasons to be grateful in the course of your activities, you can try thinking about what you (should) have been grateful for today before going to bed.
Tip #2. Say no to idleness
Don’t get us wrong – it’s not about productivity, making money, and sacrificing every spare minute to invest more time in your career. The message here is that doing nothing – though considered in some countries a good way to relax, which can be quite a slippery slope – can make you feel depressed, and it becomes easier for negative and destructive-in-the-long-run thoughts to creep into your mind. Do not let them do it. Stay active: work, maintain a decent level of physical activity, and be vigilant against the intruders that may try to break in and mislead your mind.
Tip #3. Stop making a mountain out of a molehill
Many of the everyday problems we face are actually not that important. There is even a term for that: first world problems. If you are irritated when you find out that your local store has stopped selling feijoas, it does not mean you cannot enjoy apples. Keep it simple – the overwhelming majority of luxury things are not worth the effort, nerves and time spent on them. Focus on what is really important. To do this, you should stop and think: what is it that makes your life purposeful? Is the problem you have been thinking about lately really that important? If it’s not, prevent your mind from harboring negative thoughts that lead you to ruminate on things unworthy of much attention. You may be surprised to find that money, career, and other material aspirations are not the cornerstone of life, and this revelation can make you happier and more positive.
There are no secret recipes that can turn you into a positive thinker overnight and solve all your problems. Work on your traits that require improvement and reevaluate your approach to setting priorities – sometimes all it takes is to stop and think.
When to Fake It Till You Make It (and When You Shouldn’t) – psychologytoday.com
Giving thanks can make you happier – health.harvard.edu