First trick: Get out of your head and into your feet.
The body craves movement. Exercise really works. Let’s not think of it as exercise though. Nothing is gnarlier to the depressed person than imagining him/herself at the gym in ill fitting sweats, panting on the stair master while svelte athletes are bopping around in all directions.
As Woody Allen says, 90% of success is showing up. Once we’ve got our walking shoes on, once we get endorphins cooking, the doldrums have less power to penetrate.
Second trick: Turn on music! Now!
I recommend that my clients have an arsenal of inspiring and fun music at their fingertips. I have even been known to make CD’s for my clients. When we’re depressed, the smallest task feels overwhelming. If I can kick-start someone’s joy, then I am thrilled.
Third trick: Turn on the light and sit in the sun.
Many of us work in windowless cubicles or offices, and wonder why we feel blue. When it’s dark out in autumn and winter, get a light, get some sun, get some more sun. And if there is no sun in your world, then buy a full-spectrum light.
Fourth trick: Hang out with 4-leggeds. (Unless of course, you’re allergic)
Having an animal companion near can instantly release oxytocin, that magical hormone that we secrete when we fall in love, give birth, or are nursing. It releases a feeling of goodwill, or trust in the world. OK, so not all of all are blessed to be in love all the time, or be breast feeding, so I recommend my clients find other ways to bring on the joy chemical. Read on.
Fifth trick: Change your thoughts. Right now.
We have around 60,000.00 thoughts per day. 87% of them are negative and are the same thoughts we had yesterday. Experiencing joy is a deliberate choice. Joy takes practice. Joy is hardcore. I use realistic affirmations, which, at times are posted all over my room. Notice I said realistic.
We must remember that affirmations don’t make something happen, they make something welcome. People tell me, “I put an affirmation up on my bedroom wall, saying: “I am ready to meet a gorgeous, successful, charming man who will adore and worship me.” It’s been 3 months. Where is he?” I tell them; “You have made yourself more open to meeting this human. Finding him is another story. Sorry.”
Sixth Trick: Follow a joyous lifestyle.
Choose joyous entertainment; find a class, a workout, anything that gets you in your body, preferably sweating a bit.
Seventh Trick: Affirm joy with words.
Rudyard Kipling said “I am by calling a dealer in words. And words are by far the most powerful drug in the world”. It may seem trite, but changing the way we speak can be extremely influential in changing our moods.
Eighth Trick: Grab hold of a goal.
Make it a do-able one. Happiness and joy come from goals. We mustn’t put off our lives.
Ninth Trick: Cultivate a relationship with the divine.
We are whom our higher self wanted to experience. There is some truth to the pithy phrase: There’s no aetheists in foxholes. Have a smidgens of faith and the world can be a gentler space.
Tenth Trick: Choose joyous companions.
When we are depressed, we take our somber, sluggish selves wherever we go. It can be very lonely. We need company. We need intimacy. It is very important to be around authentic people. We need someone who believes in us. No nay-sayers!