While sipping my morning coffee, dad reminded me of how today we are exactly at half of the year i.e 15th of the sixth month of the year. I don’t have to introduce you to how the year is going on, we all know.
At this moment while I speak, Instagram is split into three worlds. The first one being people who are putting out in their stories of how you should go talk to them if you are feeling low. The second one trying to tell people that if one is truly low, it is not easy for them to actually step up and talk to you. The third ones are those who are absolutely confused as to what to say or what not to say because almost every opinion has a counter-opinion and they end up in a troll thread.
I am absolutely no expert on happiness or sadness or depression but I am just putting out a few things that I have learnt from the ups and downs of life. If you wish to isolate any point from this and present it to me with a counter-argument, please do so after you’ve lived every point I mention.
Depression doesn’t happen overnight. It is like every drop amounts to a big ocean which goes on getting bigger and deeper. I am very much not going to get into what to do after getting into depression but just share a few things which can add shots of positivism and happiness into your everyday life.
So where is this coming from? Most self-development books root for the concept that your everyday habits either make or break you. This may feel like going back to kindergarten but good habits are important. They decide how we’re feeling by the end of the day when we hit the sack. This is also an approach to looking at your life in a way that one can’t control the outcome or result in life but can control our actions and efforts.
Does this mean that people with great habits don’t feel sad? No, it doesn’t. It only means that they have tools with them that act as a coping mechanism to deal with the pain and sadness. Imagine that you have a happiness tank inside you like that of a fuel tank. You need to keep fueling it and re-fueling it with the things that can keep the tank filled if not totally full. These habits may help you keep your tank full. So what tools or habits am I talking about?
Getting your dose of exercise in any form you like can be a game-changer for your happiness quotient, especially if that’s the first thing you do after you wake up. The added euphoria and the release of endorphins on an everyday basis ensures we are filling the tank every day no matter how much it is. How do I know this? Personally, my life has become much better after I have started going out for my morning walk and walking 10k steps every day. Most days that start with a good walk during the morning gives me a lot of time to think and make sense of things happening over the days in life. It gives me time to make peace with things and go back home with a stronger acceptance of reality.
I walked 10k steps everyday even during the lock down and even after I got my leg bruised from a fall. This is solely because I was a victim of the feel good factor after a physical activity like that of a walk.
2. Gratitude Journal
Writing about the things that I am thankful for has made me realize how fortunate I am for everyone and everything in my life. It is just listing out those things in a day that I feel thankful for. It could be as simple as, “I am grateful for my mum who made me a healthy breakfast today” or “I am grateful for my colleague who appreciated my project report”. I noticed with time that the more I practised gratitude, the more things I had in my list to be grateful about, reminding me of how beautiful life is.
3. Actually saying Thank You
Saying ‘Thank You’ to someone who made me smile today or saying thank you to someone who had a good 10-minute casual call with me or just saying those two words for anything simple that someone did for me also instils a sense of satisfaction from within. Find and pick things to be and feel thankful about and make sure you are actually saying it from the bottom of your heart.
4. Sleeping on time and getting enough sleep
Now there are two wide reasons why someone can’t sleep. The first type is any sort of disturbance in the mind not letting you sleep, which can honestly be fixed only during the time we are awake and living the day and the second type is indulgence in habits or activities that deprive our sleep. As in, things like going to bed after a long screen time or still carrying high energy by the end of the day. Wait, what did I just say?
A human being’s body and mind are meant to work, work a lot. We are meant to use up our energy during the day physically and mentally and actually feel tired by the end of the day. A human body is happy to feel tired and ask for rest so that the next day can be a restart. So if we are not using up our energy and engaging ourselves as much as we should, we may face difficulty in falling asleep as our body still has a lot of energy yet to be used up by us. This is again where the morning exercise can help us use up our energy.
I am not only responsible but also in control of my screen time and the way I spend my energy most days, as I know how my everyday schedule works around.
Reading a blog or a book or a magazine, reading habit can be your best friend. It not just keeps you engaged mentally but also is a way of connecting with what you love by reading (about) it. Fiction could be your escape or a blog on the Law of Triads, whatever keeps you engaged in a constructive way, just do it every day by setting aside time for it.
Reading was not part of my everyday life until I got into Pick A Book. Now my mind space wanders in concepts that interest me and keep me very engaged mentally.
6. Conscious engagement in spreading positivism
Definitely not talking about Instagram status. If there is someone who has their birthday or shares in status or as a post or message stating something good happened with them, I reach out to them and convey my wishes. It literally takes me less than a minute to do this but it actually induces a small smile on my face while I do it.
This is also a practice of seeking happiness from others’ accomplishments and celebrations and realizing the infinite number of things one can be happy about. Tune your mind to appreciate others’ happiness; that is basically all this is.
By now if you are wondering how any of this is related to depression or coping with it, as I said, it is not. It is related to how a person may use these as tools for a better and more mindful living. These may not help someone deal with depression but may bring down the chances of sinking into it.
Just like how you do everything in your power to keep your vehicle going but give it for repair if it is down with something, our bodies and minds work similarly as well.
Here I would also like to acknowledge and thank my friends who readily lent me shoulders when I wanted to cry and just heard me out. They came out with me on walks and did not ask for their share of ice cream from my bowl. This is not a joke but is the fact that they cared for me in the way that I wanted to be cared for and not in the way they knew. So you could also practice caring for people in the way they feel cared for rather than doing things that according to you are caring. It takes a little time and effort to understand the other person’s version of care but it is worth it.
With this I send out my love and happiness to you.
PS: Don’t counter-argue until you have done everything I have mentioned for at least 30 days.